The Creative Exchange

“Under the Same Blue Sky” – art installation by The Creative Exchange for WE ARE THE SKY exhibition at Gallery of Contemporary Art in the Ent Center for the Arts – University of Colorado

Zeir Aasman Aabi (Under the Same Blue Sky)
Textiles, mixed media, sound

This immersive space, evocative of the remarkably similar landscapes of Colorado and Afghanistan, came into being to celebrate the richness of traditional Afghan culture, make the voices of Afghan women refugees heard, and to reflect and honor their courage in creating a new life for themselves and their families. As the viewer enters the installation and takes a seat, they may experience a shift from disorientation toward restful familiarity. Here, bright colors and intricate patterns of traditional Afghan arts meld with the beautiful voices of Afghan women speaking their hopes and dreams.

Local women artists worked with a cohort of Afghan refugee women through the Creative Exchange program to build community, overcome challenges, and acknowledge similarities: cities nestled below mountains, arid climate, birdsong, blue skies. In this shared space, participants call forth creativity, tenacity and courage to immerse in a new language and culture, establish home in a new place, and lay paths for their children to walk into the future.

Creative Exchange is a partnership of Diversified Consulting and Imagination
Celebration with InnerChange Works.  Project supported by the Colorado Refugees Services Program and the Gallery of Contemporary Art

Creative Exchange

“Creative Exchange” is a new program serving ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) -Adults and Youth (Afghanistan, Ukraine, Haiti, Congo, Cuba, etc) welcomed to live in the Pikes Peak region from challenging circumstances.

We invite newcomers to explore a variety of creative activities while developing new skills, new connections to resources, and new friends. Teach some of the traditions of your country while sharing some favorite foods.  Do creative projects with excellent teachers providing culturally appropriate sessions in Poetry, Visual Art, Music, Calligraphy, Dance, Ceramics, Textile Arts, and more.  What do you like to make?  What do you want to know how to do?

Creativity unlocks inner resources for dealing with stress, solving problems, and enjoying life. When we are creative, we are resourceful, and we problem-solve in new and original ways.

This program is a collaboration of DiversifiEd Consulting and Imagination Celebration with InnerCHANGE WORKS.

DiversifiED helps culturally dynamic communities flourish by supporting Refugee, Immigrant, and Asylee integration.  Imagination Celebration connects people of all ages to the brain-stimulating, community-building, life-enhancing power of creativity by inspiring curiosity; instigating collaborations, and promoting life-long learning that helps us thrive in a changing world.  InnerChange Works designs, develops, and implements culturally congruent, sustainable, and community-based programs that meet the basic human needs of health, education, and economic opportunity. Funding from the Colorado Refugee Services Program is managed by the Rose Community Foundation. The Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP) is a program of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) and is responsible for the statewide coordination of refugee resettlement.