Article and Photos by Ariston Jacks
As I boarded the plane, I knew this experience was off to an interesting start. I have not had run to catch a flight in a long, long time.
When I arrived on the ground in Montreal, it was new terrain and different airport design and exciting – nothing like I had expected, and this fact remained intact during the entirety of this fantastic journey to Quebec. The French-spoken conversations reminded me that the familiarity of the faces I witnessed were from abroad, and I was going to have to pick up a few words to maneuver around town. As long as we did not engage in a conversation, it was fun converting my southern twanged “hello” to a fluid “Bonjour” just like the locals.
When things got confusing getting to my hotel, an Encuentro angel from New York appeared cool as could be, and we became acquainted while simultaneously finding bus tickets and riding into the city. Things were off to a great start and just got better from there. I learned so much about different cultures: the Zapatistas, Haitians, Columbians and even met Emory Douglas–an iconic artist I have long admired and whose book I even purchased in school while writing my thesis.
Being a part of the Alternate ROOTS workshop, Freedom Bound: Performing Principles Of Community Engagement, was a great new experience as well. The group presented and worked well to demonstrate ROOTS’ five Principles of Community Engagement: Open Dialogue, Shared Power, Partnership, Aesthetics of Transparent Process, Individual and Community Transformation. These elements coordinate, communicate and display the action needed to disseminate information stimulating change and fighting oppressive structures and systems. I appreciate the knowledge and professionalism of our team partners and their talents for making one feel welcome and valuable.
The following is a pictorial highlight of my first journey to Encuentro 2014. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and I enjoy allowing the visual image to speak. Peace.
Ariston Jacks is an artist, illustrator and documentarian photographer from Little Rock, Arkansas.