Sawunbona Project

The Sawubona Project is a part of The Cultivating Joy Initiative. (Sawubona means “I See You”)

Oftentimes we talk about the lack of community and how we see our neighbors, so we are taking positive images of people in our neighborhood to tell their stories. We allow people’s perceptions and labels of others to interfere with how we see the world. We like to change these perceptions by putting an emphasis on the narratives of the whole people in communities that most see as deficient. We change the practice of seeing “cup is half empty” perception by showing the overflowing of the abundance of gifts that neighbors have to offer one another.

We want to make the invisible, visible in UNWA by photographing neighbors in the community. We then print and enlarge these photos and put them on the boarded up windows of abandoned homes. This has and will continue to spark interest and conversations amongst neighbors. Many have shown interest in having their stories told and celebrated in this manner.

We are ready to blanket the abandoned homes in UNWA with photos of the people who live there. We want to show there is life and joy in a community that outsiders consider needing revitalization. We intend to show all the Vitality that already exists in this places. What we have experiences is that these practices go a long way to show people that there is life, joy and an abundance of things that people have to offer in community that people fail to see.

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