Miller Family Free Day: Common Ground

March 10, 2018 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

In the spirit of Fazal Sheikh’s photography and his emphasis on human rights and dignity, the Museum presents a day of community and artist-centered programs that aim to foster cross-cultural understanding. Come and experience the power of art and storytelling to remind us of our shared humanity.


Pop Up Exhibition: Under the Same Blue Sky and Remembrance
An installation by Sabina Haque on view March 9 – 11
Miller Gallery, 1st Floor, Mark Building

March 9: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
March 10 & 11: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

In Under the Same Blue Sky translucent screens covered in hand written stories are paired with oral histories from immigrants in Portland’s Somali Muslim community. This immersive installation offers a space to witness powerful and intimate stories that reclaim the narrative experience of individual immigrants as they share their lives through art.

Also on view is Remembrance, a stop-motion video performance bearing witness to the emotional and material destruction wrought by the US military’s drone warfare carried out in eight countries, including Haque’s native Pakistan.

Sabina Haque is an artist of South Asian descent raised in Karachi by her American mother and Pakistani father. In 2015 Haque was awarded the 2014 Oregon Art Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. Noteworthy exhibits include solo and group shows at Avampato Museum of Art, Virginia, Bowery Gallery in New York, the Boston Contemporary Art Center, the Los Angeles Arts and Cultural Center, the South Asian Visual Arts Center, in Toronto, Canada and Koel Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan.

Art: A Passage to Unearthing History
Artist Talk and Art-making with artist Trinh Mai
Artist Talk: 11 a.m. – Noon
Art-Making Workshop: Noon – 2 p.m.
Lower Level, Main Building

Join California-based artist Trinh Mai for a talk and art-making workshop reflecting on history, family, inheritance, and how past weaves into present. Participants will use family photos to create mixed-media works while collecting questions that they have about the photos, in hopes of opening up dialogue with family members. Trinh Mai’s work is currently on view at the Portland Children’s Museum as part of the exhibition Hướng Nước // Inheritance // Water, curated by Dao Strom.

PLEASE NOTE: Please bring a family photo, preferably one about which you know nothing or very little, that evokes a feeling or a memory. Copies of photos will be used in collage work. Capacity is limited.

Poetry Reading with Pireeni Sundaralingam and conversation with Roshani Thakore
Noon – 1 p.m.
Common Ground exhibition, 2nd Floor, Main Building

Partner: South Asian American Arts Festival (Subashini Ganesan and New Expressive Works)

Pireeni Sundaralingam is a cognitive scientist and poet. Born in Sri Lanka and raised both there and in England, she has published poems in over thirty journals and co-edited Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (U. Arkansas Press, 2010). She is currently teaching at the California Institute of Integral Studies and writing a book on poetry, creativity, and the brain. After her reading she will be in converstation with artist and activist Roshani Thakore.

Portland Meet Portland Podcast
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Open Signal Airstream in Courtyard

Join Portland Meet Portland and Open Signal as they record live podcast episodes exploring ideas of home and what is means to be a refuge.

Weaving Together: Karen Weaving Demonstration
Noon – 4 p.m.
2nd Floor, Main Building

Originally from the Thailand – Burma border region in Southeast Asia, this collective of Karen weavers are from one of the many ethnic groups in Burma. Visit the Portland Meet Portland gallery within the Common Ground exhibition to see examples of the weaver’s work, then visit the demonstration to learn how the work is made. Weaving Together is a part of the Portland Pathways to Wellness program of Lutheran Community Services Northwest.

In Conversation-Under the Same Blue Sky
Sabina Haque, Djimet Dogo, Lul Abdule
1:15 – 2 p.m.
Location: Miller Gallery, 1st Floor, Mark Building

Artist Sabina Haque talks about her work and the process of making Under the Same Blue Sky with friends Lul Abdulle of SAWA (Somali Afghani Women Association) and Djimet Dogo of Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization’s Africa House.

Reimagining Home: The Cultural Journey of South Asian Americans
Opening reception and performances
2 – 4 p.m.
Multnomah County Library Downtown (801 SW 10th Ave), Collins Gallery

Travel two blocks north to the Multnomah County Library to explore the cultural footprint of South Asia. Through art, dance, and music, this multimedia installation describes the universal experience of immigrants reimaging their personal and collective identities as Americans. In celebration of the South Asian American Arts Festival (March 8-11) curated and presented by Subashini Ganesan and New Expressive Works.  See the full list of programs.

Fazal Sheikh Gallery Talk
3 p.m.
Common Ground exhibition,  2nd Floor, Main Building

Join the artist Fazal Sheikh for an informal gallery talk about his life and work.

Thank you to the many individuals and organizations who advised and collaborated with the Museum on the Common Ground exhibition, the Portland Meet Portland gallery, and related programs. We feel honored and grateful to work with you.

Miller Family Free Day sponsor logos

Family programs are generously supported in part by Sharon L. Miller and Family, the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation, the Lamb Baldwin Foundation, and the Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989 – 2013.


The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.

Fazal Sheikh, Borana war widows Dakie Galma Sora and Dira Wako Guyo, Ethiopian refugee camp, Walda, Kenya, 1993.
Fazal Sheikh, Borana war widows Dakie Galma Sora and Dira Wako Guyo, Ethiopian refugee camp, Walda, Kenya, 1993, from the series A Sense of Common Ground. © Fazal Sheikh.