Alibi V.27 No.28 • July 12-18, 2018 

Arts Interview

Traveling for Truth

Voices from the Margins fosters collaboration between New Mexico and New Delhi

A moment captured from the celebration of the Voices from the Margins opening in New Delhi, India
A moment captured from the celebration of the Voices from the Margins opening in New Delhi, India
Sarah Wilkinson
Sarah Wilkinson, founder of Global One to One started the organization in order to, as its mission states, cultivate “intercultural understanding and communication between students and young leaders across the globe.” Foundational is creating one-on-one relationships between young people through penpal-style correspondence, Skype calls, in-class workshops and presentations. Another iteration of that mission has come in the form of Voices from the Margins, a group show whose work was created as a result of exchange and travel for college students in Albuquerque and New Delhi, India.

Over the course of one year, students dialogued on a weekly basis, and the Burqueño group recently returned from two weeks in New Delhi. In turn, the participating artists from New Delhi have recently arrived in New Mexico. A showcase created by the entire group working together has been created and will be on display at the Harwood Art Center (1114 Seventh Street NW), opening on Saturday, July 14 from 5:30 to 8pm, right on the heels of an exhibition in New Delhi. Before the opening—even as they moved between time zones—Wilkinson and Albuquerque-based participating artist Adam Gutierrez took the time to unpack their experience.

Alibi: What inspired this project?

Wilkinson: The mission of Global One to One is to create a more peaceful world by cultivating empathy between young leaders across the world through one-to-one connections. The Communities Connecting Heritage program is a grant through World Learning and the US Deptartment of State ... [it’s an] exchange program whose mission is ultimately the same.​The … grant process included matching US and international organizations to partner. ... Global One to One was selected to partner with Khoj Workshop in New Delhi, India.

​Whose work can visitors expect to see at this show?

Wilkinson: The public exhibition in Albuquerque is the second of two, the first took place in New Delhi on June 29. That exhibition resulted in a collaborative mural and performance pieces including drama, spoken word poetry and music. The Albuquerque performance will include visual and performance art created collaboratively by the New Delhi and Albuquerque teams.

Gutierrez: My contribution to the exhibition will be mostly spoken word poetry and at least one song performance. I find these mediums to be endlessly meaningful and rewarding, and I wish to share it with the world whenever I get the chance.

A moment captured from the celebration of the Voices from the Margins opening in New Delhi, India
A moment captured from the celebration of the Voices from the Margins opening in New Delhi, India
Sarah Wilkinson

How has the experience impacted your art?

Gutierrez: The experience in India has shown me that art, especially art created by a group, is a lesson in listening and staying inspired. The mural and performance we did in New Delhi was the product of a hectic and sometimes stressful environment, with many moving parts and different interpretations of the same thing. For example, each person in our group has a different definition and experience of cultural heritage and cultural identity, so, sometimes there would be a disconnect in our thoughts and actions. ... The most rewarding moments came out of everyone taking to the time to listen to somebody [else’s] unique perspective, and then finding a way to work that into the mural or performance.

What do you hope that visitors to the exhibition might take away from it?

Wilkinson: [That] we are all humans and have more in common than there are differences between us, and that young leaders are empowered by this understanding to work together to address global issues.​

What have you learned in this experience?

Gutierrez: Being in India was surreal. It’s also surreal to have the group from India here in the 505. The stark differences of daily life between residents of Khirki [in New Delhi], India and Albuquerque, New Mexico, are overwhelming. That being said, the biggest lesson I learned was that there are countless similarities that we have across cultural, national and societal boundaries. Whether it’s similar foods, similar (or even the same) music, similar aspirations for the future, similar experiences with racism, sexism, misogyny. The similarity we all share are stemmed from the basic human desire to love and feel loved—to be understood, to feel secure and to be welcomed, that is what happiness and success look like, and this exchange with India is a shining example of that universal truism.