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Adopted Detroiter Ali Lapetina has made documenting, collaborating with and promoting a greater understanding of underrepresented communities the focus of her career to date. Over the past four years, she has been closely working with the women bi men meet Irving TX girls of the Bengali community in Hamtramck as part of an organization she founded called Women of Banglatown.

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Attracted by Champaign IL folk dating evolving landscape and raw energy of the city, Ali moved to Detroit in to study at the College for Creative Studies, with aspirations at first of becoming an art director but soon transitioned into documentary photography. After graduating inshe met a family who had moved to Detroit from Bangladesh and began photographing their community and learning about their way of life.

Best online dating Torrance CA quickly realized that many of the girls and women did not have safe gathering places outside of their homes and schools in the same way that men and boys did, and resolved to create an organization that provided them with a neighborhood place to call their own.

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She started Women of Banglatown in to provide a community space for women as well as free art programming for girls and income-generating activities for immigrant women. With the organization dating Lubbock TX over 40 expanding into offices at Woodward Throwbackswe spoke to Ali about its progress and that of the community, and her career outside of Banglatown.

What attracted you to photographing the Bengali community in the first place?

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I started photographing the Bengali community five years ago after meeting a woman and her daughters who had resettled in Detroit from Sylhet, Bangladesh. What inspired you to go free hotmail Killeen account recognizing an issue to doing something about it? Was it a natural progression for you to move from artist to community leader?

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When I reflect on this moment now, I see how my own life experience had influenced the mission of my work. The importance of a safe space for women was something that was incredibly helpful to my family, and I recognized a similar need within the Bengali community, which is one of the reasons why I started Women of Banglatown.

Starting the organization Long Beach CA girls dating an extension of the time I was spending with the girls and women.

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I believe that being an artist and a community leader should be intertwined, especially when there is a long-term project that free cam chat Gilbert AZ dedication to a community. When I started Women of Banglatown, I was young and a recent graduate. I was teaching art to youth all around Detroit through the organization Community Arts Partnership, so when I noticed a lack of gathering places for girls and women from the Bengali community, it was a natural progression for me to initiate a project around art.

How has your role evolved over the years since you started the organization? My main focus is how the organization can grow and sustain itself for years to come. My role as the art teacher has evolved into australian Gainesville dating a stronger director so I can expand our programming and diversify our community outreach.

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I still love teaching workshops, but as I have grown up alongside many of these girls and women, I want them to have the opportunity to learn and collaborate with other local artists, teachers, and volunteers. Bessemer Alabama AL hookups have started to think about the future of the organization now that I see how important it has become to the girls and women of this community.

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Were the community members you were romantic dates in nyc immediately receptive to the idea? I never really targeted community members; I simply spread the word about free art classes. In the beginning, the girls just started hanging around and inviting their friends to.

We hosted free art classes in an alleyway behind an urban farm, and a year later, we repaired a vacant garage behind it that became our home for two and half years.

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This past summer we moved into a year-round space located inside Woodward Throwbacks. Over the past four years, we went from having 8—10 girls to now roughly 15—20 girls. The organization also date Collins guys review with a handful of women from the community to create woven and textile goods that they sell inside of the Woodward Throwbacks showroom.

What are the main obstacles you have faced? Operating costs are the biggest obstacle. We recently become a c 3so we Chicago Illinois IL sex chat room free start to raise money to host programming year-round and collaborate with local artists to teach workshops. The response and support from the community have grown, and I want to continue to provide workshops and events.

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Another struggle is parents allowing the girls to attend. How have you decided on the specific programming activities?

Meet the detroit artist who’s teaming up with bengali girls and women to build community

Are there any projects you are particularly proud of? The programming changes every season. I always ask the girls what activities they are interested in and what they would like to learn about. The majority of the programming and events are art- and Kissimmee ladies dating, but a few years back, we hosted a mother-daughter day where we made water catchment systems, which was fun.

Outside of Women of Banglatown, what photography and educational projects have you worked on recently?

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I spent nine months photographing the community and building relationships with refugees who had recently moved to America. Through images and video messages, the girls are communicating with one another to share the story of their cities. For me, storytelling is a platform to reflect, share, and understand one dates in Overland Park KS.

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For the past five years, the majority of my work has either documented or collaborated with underrepresented communities. The thread that ties everything together is to promote a greater understanding of individuals and communities.

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