And Still I Rise

Exhibited: at Nottingham Central Library, June 2018

at THiNK Nottingham, July 2018

"What does it take to rise from adversity? What strengths, talents and skills can each of us find within ourselves when confronted with life's challenges? What are the extraordinary abilities possessed by so-called ordinary people, and how can we share them for the common good? These are all the questions posed in the work of the celebrated poet Maya Angelou (1928-2014), who wrote against the specific backdrop of racial discrimination and political upheaval in Twentieth-Century America, but whose poetry has gained international renown for its uncompromising expression of women's resilience, and for its defiantly universal positivity. In particular, her poem, 'Still I Rise', has become an anthem for those facing personal or political tribulations, and has been translated into languages ranging from Kurdish to Amharic; Arabic to Albanian.

Over the course of seven weeks in May and June 20118, the PAMOJA Women Together Group, a collective of around 30 women affiliated with Nottingham Refugee Forum, explored the work of Maya Angelou through a series of workshops hosted at Nottingham Contemporary, in which they were invited to discuss and respond to Angelou's poetry as a source of inspiration for their own writing and creative self-expression. The group initially work with a team of volunteer translators and NTU lecturer in World Literature, Anna Ball, to explore the ideas in Angelou's poetry. They then worked as a group and individually in order to produce, workshop and perform their own creative work, as well as team up with Photographer, Rasha Kotaiche, to create a body of images presenting their personalities. These extracts of their poems and images are the inspiring result of their project, which were exhibited in Nottingham Central Library and THiNK Gallery. - Anna Ball"