By Maggie Graham
We Are All Related, a multimedia exhibit of photographic portraits, audiovisual recordings, and written narratives by acclaimed Pittsburgh photographer Andrea London, opens March 22 at 937 Gallery, downtown Pittsburgh. We Are All Related features images and the personal narratives of immigrants and refugees, members of the LGBTQ community, people with differing abilities, and others facing discrimination and marginalization.
We Are All Related is a collection of compelling images and stories of the human experience and human and civil rights struggles of individuals and families living in the region. Select subjects include a Bhutanese family that survived 20 years in a Nepali refugee camp, a 94-year-old peace activist and Holocaust survivor, a transgender man, and a woman blind since birth whose parents fought for her ability to attend a public grade school.
A concurrent public art installation by Andrea London, designed to expand the visibility of We Are All Related, is also opening on March 22 at the corner of Penn and Centre Avenues in East Liberty. This high-traffic intersection will carry a conversation of cultural inclusion and prospective sharing through the streets of Pittsburgh. In a call for understanding and urgency, this installation includes large-scale vinyl printed portraits of diverse residents and the words “We Are All Related” translated in the 17 languages represented by the portrait subjects.
London has a decades-long career in photographic studio portraiture using black and white film. Her 30 years behind the camera have provided her with a unique and deep connection between photographer and subject. Through these experiences, London began to see the importance of each subject’s story and the threads that connect them. It’s through this work that We Are All Related was born.
“This body of work is my attempt to counter the ugly rhetoric of separation and racism exploding all around us,” London said. “I decided to bring forward my portraits of both the marginalized and mainstream to show the interconnections among people I observe every day. My hope is to convey that no matter our race, religion, culture, birthplace, gender identity, age or ability, we are all connected by shared experiences of struggle, oppression, triumph, love or loss.”
The We Are All Related exhibition at 937 Gallery, 937 Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh, and the public art installation on the corner of Penn and Centre Avenues in East Liberty, both run from March 22 through May 12. The public art installation is hosting a neighborhood kickoff party Sunday, March 24 from 2-4 p.m. A book of the portraits and narratives, also titled We Are All Related, will be available at 937 Gallery, in book stores throughout Pittsburgh, and online. To learn more, visit http://www.andrealondon.com.
Maggie Graham is an independent communications professional living in Morningside.
(TMC newspaper VOL. 49 No. 2 March 2019. All rights reserved.)