Educator Kamal Badhey and her adult and teen students, William Page, A’ssia Rai, and Valerie Zink reflect on their journey of investigating their family archives.
Moderators: Kamal Badhey
Photoville 2020 Talks On-demand recordings are made possible in partnership with PhotoWings with additional support by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.
So often photo albums and other repositories of memory are tucked away in basements and drawers and remain untouched, and yet the web of family can be a rich source of inspiration and analysis for artists, documentarians, and everyday people.
Educator Kamal Badhey and her adult and teen students, William Page, A’ssia Rai, and Valerie Zink reflect on their journey of investigating their family archives. Kamal will share the process by which her autobiographical work, Portals and Passageways, an excavation of the life of her great-great grandfather Annam Rathnaiah, became the curricular backbone for her adult education course Family: Reinterpreting the Personal Archive at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, and for the Teen Academy course, Reconstructing the Family Album at the International Center of Photography.
Former students will join the conversation, sharing their personal motivations and reflections on their family archives. Each will share process-oriented, slow forms of family work that incorporates writing, archival photographs, personal objects, or stories. Student creative engagement expands our notion of family by paying tribute to ancestors, disrupting linear narratives, and re-imagining new spaces.
William is a proud Durham native, a high school wrestler turned college cheerleader, and a major blerd who, at this very moment, is probably daydreaming or reading about some Afro-futurist/Black speculative matter. Curiosity and a wandering nature have led him to a range of work settings over the years—a gym, an elementary school, and an oral history-based community organization, among others. He also found his way to social work school somewhere in there.
Since 2017, he has coordinated support for artists of color in residence, as part of the pilot Documentary Diversity Project at the Center for Documentary Studies. He spends a ton of his spare time in various thrift stores and establishments, giving heart eyes to gently loved reading materials and amusements, that he doesn’t have near enough room for but gets (and needs?) nonetheless. Fortunately, his loving partner, family, friends, and fish (Ariel and Takeoff) remain very supportive. He also finds a little time to work at Letters Bookshop, and he plans to one day open a shop specializing in Black speculative fiction and comics.
My name is A’ssia Rai. I am seventeen years old and I am an artist. I am a non-binary Muslim individual and I find myself writing poetry, drawing, painting, taking photos, and singing. I was born in New York City and currently reside in Housatonic, Massachusetts. I grew up in Lahore, Cape Town, and London. I am half Pakistani and half Indian. I am a sophomore at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. I helped create a music collective named Drab Ave. We have been publishing music on a couple of platforms, as well as performing on our campus. I have attended several ICP workshops since 9th grade. I also attended the International Writing Program at Iowa University. The session was called Between the Lines.
Valerie Zink is a documentarian and community organizer interested in land, kinship, and colonial inheritance in the Canadian prairies. She is currently working on a transmedia documentary with the National Film Board about farmers’ relationship to property ownership and land restitution, and plugging away at a long-term project exploring the evolution of her family’s dairy farm into an underground hamlet. She grew up in the foothills of Alberta and currently lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she wrangles a one- and two-year-old.
Kamal Badhey (she/her) is a photographer, artist-educator and independent curriculum designer of South Asian ancestry with an MA in Photography and Urban Cultures from Goldsmiths, University of London, and an MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. She is a member of the Urban Photographers Association and South Asian Women’s Creative Collective. Her work intersects with diaspora, using photography, oral storytelling, and family history to stitch together stories. It follows the Telugu saying, ’Katha kanchiki, manam intiki’, ‘The story goes far far away, and now we are back in our homes’. Her project “Portals and Passageways”, exhibited internationally traces her jeweler ancestor and great great grandfather Annam Rathnaiah from unknown origins to a former British colonial bazaar in Secunderabad, India. Kamal brings two decades of experience collaborating with youth and adults in public schools, transitional housing, community centers, civic engagement, and universities. She was a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellow and a Claremont Documentary Fellow.
For more of her work: www.kamalbadhey.com