PHOTOGRAPHERS & COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS BIOGRAPHY
Alexandra Kravitz grew up in Ventura California, and is completing her undergraduate degree in art at UCLA. During her time at UCLA Kravitz has become involved in AIDS activism. Using artistic media she creates awareness of HIV/AIDS in hopes to continue a conversation about living with the disease. In addition to her activism, Kravitz is interested in pursuing other artistic forms such as furniture design and woodworking. She wishes to thank her family for all of their inspiration and support.
Arianna Taboada was born in Berkeley, CA and was raised both in the East Bay and Central Mexico. As a result, she found her passion in artistically addressing inequities in health and education faced by colonized peoples around the world. She came to the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA with a background in community-based documentary film, utilizing media for social action, education and change. She has produced short films for Berkeley Community Media, KQED, Oakland Community Media Network, non-profits such as La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland, and Mill Valley, Silverdocs, Screenagers and other film festivals, With minors in Public Health and Chicano/a Studies, Arianna hopes to pursue her Dr.P.H., and establish programs that allow youth of color to produce media that disseminates culturally relevant health education to their communities. She currently work's for UCLA's SHAPE (Students Heightening Academic Performance Through Education) program and strongly believes in community empowerment, conscious art, and revolution.
Andrew Hsieh, a 4th year chemical engineering student at the time of the workshop, discovered his dad's 1972 Nikon Nikomat at the age of 15 and since then has found himself enamored by the art of photography. He currently works as a staff photographer for the Daily Bruin, UCLA's student-run newspaper. In addition to pressing shutter buttons, he enjoys books, movies, warm glasses of milk, and tree-climbing.
Currently a second year Anthropology student at UCLA, Ankita Nigam wishes to become a catalyst of social change by setting up health clinics and creating awareness about healthcare issues amongst communities that lack this exposure. In her free time, she enjoys salsa dancing and feasting upon diverse ethnic cuisines. She may be contacted at: email@example.com
Bobby Gordon is a 21 year old poet, writer, and activist in training from Berkeley, CA. He is currently living in Los Angeles and attending UCLA in the World Arts and Cultures department. A third year in the cultural studies concentration, he has performed spoken word at various venues in Los Angeles, New York, and the Bay Area. He also makes really good guacamole.
Cayla McCrae is an aspiring imperialist hailing from Loomis, California. She is currently residing in Los Angeles. The third-year Design | Media Arts major has already lead a promising and fulfilling imperialistic career; at just 20 years old, she has slain UCLA and most of LA County. She plans on eventually taking over the world.
Christina Long is a student at UCLA studying Art, Art History, and Egyptology. Her interest in photography was activated in high school when she started processing and printing black and white film in the darkroom. Since then, she has pursued various methods of the photographic process including color printing and shooting film in medium and large formats. Christina has been dedicated to establishing herself in the museological field beginning during the course of her undergraduate studies by serving as a volunteer and then acquitting a staff position at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She considers this commitment to serve as a compelling basis for future opportunities, as she aspires to continue engaging in museum work for the duration of her post-graduate work and eventually obtain a museological position concerning the curatorship of Egyptian antiquities. Subsequent to her graduation from UCLA, Christina intends to pursue her interest in art historical scholarship and acquire a Ph.D. in the interrelated studies of Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archeology.
Born in Brasilia, Brazil, Cristina Rosa is a scholar and a visual artist, currently based in Los Angeles. Rosa has a Master degree in Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently engaged in her doctoral research in culture and performance at the World Arts and Cultures department, at UCLA. Rosa's research currently focuses on the Afro-Brazilian performance genre of capoeira. Rosa's visual artwork includes drawing, painting, printmaking, installation and, more recently, photography. She has given lectures and exhibited in Brazil and US (mainland and Hawaii), for the past seven years. Beyond exhibiting and promoting her own work, Rosa has engaged in international curatorial projects between Brazil and US, which have fostered cultural and artistic exchange among emerging and established artists in both countries. Example of this effort is the "Mid-West/Centro-Oeste" project, which took place in Brasilia, Brazil in 2003 and in Madison, WI in 2006. Her work can be viewed at www.cristinarosa.net
Los Angeles native Dana Blunk is a photographer and studio manager. She has most recently worked for Nick Koudis Studio who's cliental included Alternative Press Magazine, Getty Images, Business 2.0, and Golf Magazine. Outside of the commercial world, Dana is interested in social change imagery and continues to photograph her environment. As well as, exploring the human condition through a lens. She hopes to take her commercial experience and apply it to future works.
Current projects include contributing photography and website management for the IDEPSCA Day Labor Exhibition Hate & Hope, opening spring 2007 and multiple stock photography catalogs. She will graduate from UCLA, School of Arts and Architecture, in 2007. Contact: DanaBlunk.com
Emily Feldstein: I have danced for as long as I can remember. I am currently a World Arts and Cultures major in the dance concentration and plan to graduate in the spring of 2007. During my major and before UCLA, I have participated in various activist projects, in this country and in the Dominican Republic. I think that it is extremely important for everyone to work together and change the world. Being a part of this project, I felt honored to tell the story of a woman that has overcome so much in her life through a work of art. This experience has given me insight that I will continue to develop for the rest of my life.
Emma Winder: I was born in San Francisco, CA on September 20, 1984. Yes, I'm a Virgo. Shortly thereafter my family relocated across the golden gate bridge to the lovely bubble which is Marin County. I was on the Marin Rowing Association varsity crew team for 4 years and was then recruited to row for UCLA in 2002. I am currently a World Arts and Cultures major with a museum studies and African studies minor. While at UCLA I have involved myself extensively in activist art primarily pertaining to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This work led me to Tanzania this summer to teach with Students for International Change (SIC), a non-profit organization dedicated to HIV prevention and education. I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities that UCLA and specifically the WAC department have presented me with in the last 4 years. I plan to continue my education and pursue the field of graphic design throughout this next year and potentially move onto graduate school next fall.
Gail Romero is an International Development Studies student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Originally from Long Island, New York, she came to Los Angeles to pursue her interest in Documentary Filmmaking. Her photography focuses on social and political issues, such as poverty, homelessness and AIDS awareness, using art as a form of activism. Gail hopes to one day be a photojournalist for National Geographic or the New York Times.
Hanni Rosenfeld grew up in Miami Beach, FL and attended Miami Country Day School for 14 years where her mom is still a teacher. While her mom is her biggest fan and true hero, Hanni jet-setted to California, the farthest thing besides crossing an ocean, to continue her education at UCLA with a major in Cultural Studies in the Department of World Arts and Cultures and a minor in African Studies. She loves to travel, especially since going on Semester at Sea where she visited 14 different countries over a period of 100 days. Inspired by a burning desire to do whatever she can towards improving the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS and motivated to prevent further spread of infection through arts education, her passion for HIV/AIDS activism is far-reaching. Starting with her commitment throughout college to UCLA Dance Marathon benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, she went on to volunteer with various HIV/AIDS non-profits like Artists for a New South Africa in Los Angeles and Students for International Change in northern Tanzania. As for why she wanted to be a part of this project: "People can see statistics, numbers every day; but it's not until a face, a person, someone you or I could easily know, is connected to the disease, that the stark reality of this pandemic becomes explicitly clear." She hopes this project presents this reality as it does justice to the stories of these twelve courageous heroes.
Kyla Searle is a nineteen-year-old UCLA student originally from the Bay Area. She is interested in metropolitan studies with an emphasis in creative community empowerment. She currently works at Rogers Park Boys and Girls Club and Dorsey High School. She also works with UCLA's Performance Project which brings young people from Long Beach, Compton, Carson, Inglewood and Santa Monica to UCLA in order to create a performance piece that tours throughout Los Angeles. Kyla is minoring in public health and found this project to be the perfect mix of her interests.
Kylie Alesso is currently an undergraduate student at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television majoring in theater and acting. Born and raised in Southern California, she has always been extremely artistic and had a love for all areas of the arts. Her interest in visual arts and writing began at a very young age and has always been strongly integrated into her education and creative expression. She also began studying voice as a child and has been performing in musical theater as well as various strait play, dance and vocal performances for many years. She has a strong passion for people, and a strong interest and desire in learning about and bringing awareness to the HIV/AIDS crisis Africa. Her goal is to finish her education and find a way to integrate her love for the arts in her desire to help people, children, and those struggling specifically with HIV/AIDS. She has been so grateful to work on the HIV in Los Angeles project, and cannot wait for God to open up the doors to do more.
Lauren Ross, originally from the Bay Area, graduated from Berkeley High School in 2003/2004, with numerous involvement in a non profit AIDS education organization for 3 years. Began photography work in 2000, Currently is a Junior at UCLA, majoring in World Arts and Cultures, with a cultural studies emphasis and an African American Studies minor. Is also currently working with two non-profits,African Student Union's Academic Supports Program, specializing in the retention of African American students on campus, as well as academic and holistic growth; and African Student Union's SHAPE program, that goes out into the Los Angeles and Inglewood community, working with elementry through high school students, offering tutoring, peer advising and workshops. Plans after graduation include working with LAUSD as a high school teacher, teaching art activism.
Elizabeth Schwegler: Lyzz is a Linguistics major with a Political Science minor at UCLA, set to graduate in fall of 2007.? She spends the majority of her free time serving as captain of the Sailing Team at UCLA and is the Varsity A skipper for the women?s team.? Lyzz has been an avid photographer for many years, shooting mainly in film with her trusted Nikon F3.? After graduation, she hopes to sail around the world with her boyfriend before pursuing graduate studies, possibly in the Middle East.?
Marcelle Little began playing college basketball for Santa Rosa Junior College in 1999, but injured her back. She quit basketball in 2001 and discovered a new passion. Drawing became her therapy as well as psychology and she transferred to UC Davis in 2002. After working as a mental health care worker she stepped away from psychology and delved into something much deeper. As fate would have it, she typed in “English” for language and “textile” for a discipline, under a search database for abroad programs offered by the UC Education Abroad Program and University of Science and Technology in Ghana, West Africa appeared on the screen. Six months later she was in Kumasi, Ghana studying African textiles. There she immersed into campus life and played basketball, soccer, and volleyball for the university, joined International Lighthouse and “Remember the Poor” ministry, volunteered at an NGO and had a life-changing experience. Marcelle departed Ghana in June of 2004, but returned in January of 2005, and engaged in a textile research project in Mali and to help raise funds for a non-profit organization in Ghana for two months. She graduated from UC Davis in June of 2005, with a BS in Environmental Design and a minor in African-American & African Studies. Prior to attending UCLA she lived in DC and interned for Appleseed Foundation and John Snow, Inc. At John Snow, Inc. she worked on a project called Supply Chain Management System, funded by the US government as part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She also traveled throughout southern Africa meeting and interviewing people affected by HIV/AIDS. Currently, Marcelle is researching the second-hand clothing business and the link between economic activity and HIV/AIDS at UCLA.
Margaux Permutt, among many things, is a poet and a songwriter. She likes to use her art as a vehicle to carry social and political messages about current and longstanding issues. She is passionate about peace, connectivity, and tolerance. She enjoys performing spoken word, and playing her acoustic guitar and singing. She was born in Santa Rosa California, and attributes much of her passion for activism to her progressive small town upbringing. She stumbled upon World Arts and Culture studies when asking her brother where she would fit in at UCLA. Upon reading the description of the program she knew there was no other school for her. She loves her cultural studies concentration because it allows her to interact with people from all walks of life and respond in a way that is not only artistic, but has some impact on the way people interpret their realities.
Muskan Srivastava is an aspiring young artist who loves to express herself through both art and community service. Her goal is to merge her passion for the two through community projects that allow her to use various media in creative ways. Through UCLA's ArtsBridge program she has had the opportunity to teach design at an inner city middle school. She is also interested in film and animation, and in further exploring these fields after graduation in june 2007.
Joe Hogan is a burgeoning photographer who teaches at UCLA Extension and has worked in film & television development for the last twelve years. He produced the independent film THE GATEKEEPER in 2002 and continues to have a passion for visual storytelling in its many forms. He lives in Los Angeles with his partner of fourteen years.
Tida Sripanich: As a graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and current student of the World Arts and Cultures department at UCLA, Tida Sripanich has always had a love for the remarkable, and many times out of the ordinary, world of arts. Growing up in Los Angeles amongst the plethora of vivid life and culture, Tida was introduced to it all through photography and dance. Hoping to one day become a dance photographer and photojournalist, she started her training in 2000. This was the year she had her first dance class and bought her first camera. Most of the year 2000 was spent either in a darkroom perfecting a print (and yes she still believes film is the only way to go) or in a studio working on her arabesque. Ever since, these two hobbies of hers, with the addition of cheese, have overtaken most of her time. She now finds herself split between dance and photography and hopes to one day combine the two. But for now, being young, curious, and adventurous, she has dreams of photographing the world; Sarajevo, Beirut, Amman, Tel Aviv, Sofia, Istanbul, Chennai, and Prague are just a few of the destinations on her list. She wants to finish UCLA and become completely nomadic. She is fully aware that she will be broke for the rest of her life because of this but she just doesn't care.
Sara Stranovsky is no stranger to telling stories. She has always been intrigued by the ways that words, images, movements and sounds can speak to reveal the complex layers of human emotion, and is an artist in a variety of forms. Sara graduated from Middlebury College, with majors in English Literature, Dance, and a minor in French. Some of her past work includes a collection of non-fiction stories, a travel memoir about Senegal, choreography projects about family heritage, and musical performances in her funk band for AIDS awareness events. Sara is also a member of OMART, (Observatoire des metiers et Des Arts) in Senegal, who works with poets, musicians, and artist on community building projects. She is a first year graduate student in UCLA's department of World Arts and Cultures, working towards an MA and PHD in Culture and Performance with an emphasis on dance in West Africa and Brazil. She hopes to use her degree towards future work in international arts-activism projects, and possibly HIV/AIDS work. Sara is motivated after knowing Tom's moving tale, and after working with inspirational storyteller Gideon Mendel whose images speak beyond their stories. She thanks David Gere for organizing this important project, and for furthering the link between arts and activism.
Whitney Pierce is what some like to call an enigma. She is from everywhere, and has no particular destination aside from the future. Raised by a single mother who paints for a living, Whitney developed an interest in the arts at a very young age. Fully immersed in the gay community by age fourteen, this seemingly suburban, straight girl had found her home. This is where Whitney began her research in HIV/AIDS and found herself becoming an activist. More recently, she has traveled to sub-Saharan Africa, furthering her interest in the global AIDS pandemic. She plans on changing the world, and will not rest until she has done so.