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Portland Artist Leads Student Project To Heal Divided City


Portland artist Sabina Haque is leading a team of 20 students from Madison High School this afternoon in a project on uniting a divided city.

The project, led by Sabina Haque and created by students at Madison High School, includes zine work, art posters, and murals.

The project, led by Sabina Haque and created by students at Madison High School, includes zine work, art posters, and murals.

Courtesy of Sabina Haque

Haque initially focused the project on the 1980s annexation of East Portland. She collected hundreds of records about the fractious union of the two cities — including nine lawsuits.

But she says last week’s stabbings have cast division in a different context.

“I think there’s a huge responsibility to talk about the real Portland, to talk about what’s actually happening on the ground and to bring those stories to light.”

Students in the class were definitely aware of what was going on; with a diverse range of kids in the class, including students of Somali family background.

The students will raise awareness at one of the busiest intersections in the city, on the corner of Division and 82nd Ave, Friday afternoon at 5:30, raising banners and handing out leaflets.

The exhibition will be on view at Jade/APANO JAMS, an adjacent multicultural center, through this weekend.

So how do you talk to young people about how the city moves on from here, how we should think about living together?

AN image developed by students at Madison High School, with artist Sabina Haque.

AN image developed by students at Madison High School, with artist Sabina Haque.

Courtesy of Sabina Haque

“I think they have a lot to teach us,” Haque said. “When you look at the images, they’re speaking their experience, their truth, in a way that’s so stark, the city cut in half, black and white, yin and yang. There’s this yearning for balance. The clarity youth sometimes can bring to these issues, we, as adults, sometimes sidestep.”

Listen for more on this story on this week’s “State of Wonder.”

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