"I would never have discovered as flawless an example of irony as a roomful of laborers on hunger strike, folding food into my palms like prayers as we parted ways. I was so ashamed that all I could offer them were blessings that filled the empty temples in their bellies."
The words belong to Kane Smego, artistic director of 2011 Indies Arts Awards winners Sacrificial Poets. While most regional college students were contemplating little more than temporary jobs and some R&R on a summer break from classes, the media activists and documentary film producers at Chapel Hill's Empowerment Project sent Smego, fellow Sacrificial Poet Will McInerney, N.C. State junior Mohammad Moussa (serving as translator and interpreter) and Raleigh videographer Sameer Abdel-Khalek to Egypt and Tunisia for eight weeks between June and August. Their mission: to be witnesses to history, and capture, through interviews, video footage, still photography and their own writing, the revolutions unfolding in both countries arising out of the Arab Spring.
UNC's Process Series, a forum for major artistic works in progress, opens its third season this week with the first fruits from that odyssey.Poetic Portraits of a Revolution is a multimedia performance piece, incorporating spoken word, video, photography and music to provide "a glimpse into lives of the Egyptian and Tunisian people, in order to raise international awareness and understanding of their journey towards self-determination." For a riveting preview of what's to come, visit ppr2011.org. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; admission for the Process Series, as always, is free. —Byron Woods