“Dear World, From Joplin With Love” photo exhibition presented at Spiva | Local News


A photo exhibition depicting messages of hope and challenge through handwritten texts on the skin of Joplin tornado survivors is now on display at the Spiva Center for the Arts through Sunday as part of the 10th anniversary of the storm from 2011.

Entitled “Dear World, From Joplin With Love,” the exhibit features approximately 50 photographs of community members affected by the Joplin tornado. With handwritten text on their skin, the photos illustrate the thoughts of residents after the tornado that killed 161 people.

The work will be on temporary display from noon to 5 pm until Sunday, or by appointment, at the Spiva Center for the Arts, 222 W. Third St. The exhibition opened on Thursday.

Some of the heartfelt handwritten messages scrawled on the bodies of survivors include “The Power of Love”, “I will be by your side” and “Believe in prayer”.

Shaun Conroy, Spiva’s director of exhibitions, said that while some people may be weary of hearing about it, the tornado is part of Joplin’s story and is important to remember.

“This exhibit is not meant to evoke the tornado again,” Conroy said. “It’s about remembering how we came together as a community and where our heart is when we need to show our heart. It’s a way to remember the good things that happened and to remember that our community has been through a lot. There are still people who recover because they have lost loved ones, and we must remember that these people are still in our community. “

Robert X. Fogarty partnered with writer Adam Karlin and production manager Jonny Rosenbloom to create the exhibit in which they captured the messages and images of affected residents, first responders, volunteers and city officials. by the tornado.

Fogarty is the founder of the “Dear World” photography series, which began as a way for New Orleans residents to write “a love note to their city” after Hurricane Katrina. “Dear World” has since grown into a global project that documents survivors of various disasters and tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

Conroy was involved in the initial appeal for anyone to participate in the “Dear World” photo series in Spiva a year after the tornado. The center has also hosted several other exhibitions with the community emphasizing strength and resilience.

“One question I asked (after the tornado) was, ‘How are we still relevant to the community? ”, Said Conroy. “What are we doing in the middle of all of this because there are more important things like providing food and water to people? We had an exhibit of how people reacted to the fall storm called “The Other Side”. But we wanted to have something more concise.

In the regional gallery of Spiva, a year after the storm, there was an exhibition titled “Photos of the storm”, which featured the aftermath of the tornado as well as audio clips from a police scanner. The projects have only evolved.

“Then there was ‘Dear World’ which is where we are now,” said Conroy. “One exhibit was not very enjoyable, and the other exhibit was supposed to be more about healing. In the original “Dear World” exhibit, we also had something called the “Shoebox Project”, where I asked people to bring in special things or items that were meaningful to them and that were discovered afterwards. the tornado, and we put them in shoe boxes that were in a centered gallery. It felt good to have such an impact on the community and to offer something. Lots of people spent hours there.

This is the third time that “Dear World, From Joplin With Love” has premiered at Spiva, but it has never been shown in its entirety until now.

It was originally shown in the main gallery of the Spiva Center in May 2012 to commemorate the first anniversary of the Joplin tornado.

Then it was partially erected to mark the fifth anniversary of the tornado and included updates on where the survivors were several years later, how the tornado changed their lives, and how the tornado changed their lives. road to recovery.

Now, customers can view the entire exhibit with the original interviews, revisited interviews and photos.

Susan Adams, Acting Executive Director of Spiva, had her photo taken for the “Dear World” exhibit in 2012 in which her line was “Action has magic, power and grace.”

“It was a very moving experience to think about what you wanted to represent on your body,” she said. “I was involved in a number of different ways in recovery from the tornado and what impressed me the most was everyone’s willingness to take action. It was very interesting to see the statements that people chose.

Adams said the exhibition was a wonderful idea and that she wanted to be involved in the project after seeing Fogarty’s previous works.

Adams said it pays homage not only to the people who have been lost, but also to how far we’ve come individually and as a community.

“I saw his work after Katrina and I had family in New Orleans,” she said. “The photographs he took after Katrina were so powerful, I just thought it was a beautiful thing to do here in Joplin. So many messages from people were spiritual and thanking Heaven for being successful. It was a very moving experience and a magnificent tribute to Joplin’s strength, power and resilience. This is what this memory is all about, how far we have come.


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