Raising awareness, and cultivating compassion, through profound, visual storytelling.
“Do not avert your eyes.
It is important
that you see this.
It is important that you feel
― Kamand Kojouri
This project was born out of deep-seated passion, to help those in need, and personal experience; having suffered and struggled with homelessness and addiction.
My intent is to create, if not compel, a visceral connection to those who are far too often dismissed, objectified, overlooked, and judged.
My hope is to foster a sense of community and embolden the notion that we are all part this great journey, individually and as a whole; bolstering the precedent for a humanity rooted in compassion and empathy.
My belief is that there is something uniquely significant about looking into another person’s eyes; the very act of connecting on that level has a way of breaking down barriers, bias, and false constructs.
Ultimately, I aspire to create a dialogue, not necessarily in the community or between one another, but within each individual. One that not only directly addresses the potential absence of love, compassion, and empathy, but also questions how those powerful forces are, or are not, being channeled to create a positive difference in the world.
Together, we can and will make a difference; but we must embody the change we wish to see in the world.
If you feel heartened, inspired, or moved by the project, and would like to help in any way, please contact me directly.
Prints [up to 3’x4′] are available, upon request; contact for pricing.
Donations are welcomed.
Proceeds, from print sales and donations, are split evenly between the project and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
When I crossed paths with Dawna, she was sheltered in the corner of an old storefront, veiled in shadow.
Her small stature made even more diminutive by the dramatic archway and partial darkness.
She stood there, motionless, almost as if she was hiding; her eyes, however, cut through shade and silence like a finely-honed blade glowing faintly in the flicker of forge’s fire.
Her eyes were like beacons through dense fog, cries for help echoing through forest mist.
I approached her, apprehensively, and quietly inquired if she needed a helping hand. It was hard to tell if she was gazing into me or looking through me, either way, her stare was hauntingly intense.
With a voice almost too faint and broken to be understood, she whispered that she was hungry and could use some money for food.
As I handed her a few dollars, she clutched my hand for a mere moment that somehow felt like an eternity. Her presence and energy were simultaneously intriguing and unnerving. I felt unsettled, a rarity for me in any situation.
Before parting ways, we exchanged names; she murmured something from behind pursed lips, I heard Dawna but couldn’t be certain.
Walking away, I felt bewildered and awestruck. Within half a block, I decided to turn around in an attempt to find out more about her story. By the time I got back to the storefront, only a few minutes later, she was gone. Vanished, seemingly.
Some moments make you question reality, others make you question yourself. Those moments I spent interacting with Dawna made me question both.
Even now, as I write this, I can figuratively feel pain in the spots where her otherworldly eyes pierced my armor and cut deep, past sinew and bone, through blood and marrow, through the core of my being to the center of my spirit.
Like a phantom, Dawna faded in and out of my life, materializing from and into the ether of existence. Her eyes are still cutting through my consciousness, echoing faintly in the recesses of my psyche.
Like a mysterious figure in a waking dream; she was some sort of archetype, a heroine, and villain, duality incarnate. I hope to cross paths with Dawna again one day. If only to find refuge in the sanctity of my memory, if only to affirm the validity of my experience.
If her eyes told any tale, it was one of struggle and survival; pupils like portals, alchemy and magic swirled within the confines of each iris.
In a strange way, her eyes told my story.
Life is fleeting, our lives fickle and fragile.
All we have is the moment, all we owe is gratitude.
Thank you, Dawna.
“Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.”
― John Milton