WOODY CREEK - Photographs from Aspenite Wayne Poulsen will be featured over the next three weeks at a new exhibit, The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted: Graffiti Art of Cairo, which opens Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Woody Creek Community Center.
The exhibit, organizers say, is an exploration of the powerful role played by art and artists in fueling the aspirations of the people of Egypt in their rise against a repressive government. The revolution that began on Jan. 25, 2011 - and sparked the resignation of longtime President Hosni Mubarak 18 days later - continues today.
Poulsen, an architect and artist, will speak at tonight's opening. He said he spent December 2010 and January 2011 visiting a friend in Cairo and was swept up in the passion that led to the popular uprising.
"I got to meet some of the Egyptian artists that were involved in the agit-prop art of the revolution," he said. "The general consensus on the street, in the tea houses, was that something important was in the works. There was a feeling that this was going to be a historic moment."
He left Egypt on Jan. 23, 2011, just two days before the revolution began. When he returned to the country 10 months later, he took photographs of the graffiti that served as a tool to unite the people in their quest for change. The "agit-prop art" also has come to symbolize the revolution itself.
"I met some of the same people and artists whom I had met the previous year," he said. "They talked about the movement, what was successful and what was not successful, and so forth."
Poulsen spent most of December 2011 and January 2012 in Cairo to collect photos for an essay. He came back to the United States with many impressions.
"There was a tremendous fellowship and cohesion among the Egyptian people," he said. "You could really feel it. And the women have taken a great leadership role in this revolution. They were highly effective organizers and participants. They were very active."
Poulsen is expected to discuss his time with an Egyptian artist, the internationally renowned Mohamed Abla, who was inspired by the revolution's beginnings in one of Cairo's landmarks, Tahrir Square. At 59, Abla does not consider himself to be one of the revolution's active participants - it was primarily a youth movement - but has said in interviews that he wanted to contribute toward it by capturing its essence through his work.
Some prepared subtext to tonight's presentation reads as follows: "I had a chance to talk with Abla on several occasions, to watch him work in his studio and to see him in active participation with fellow artists and with impromptu street exhibitions, sharing his vision and feelings in the often smoky air of the Cairo scene," Poulsen wrote.
"I am providing here a few photos of Mohamed's process which conveys a sense of his fluent interpretation of events, even as these events are unveiling in the small and shadowy streets which surround his downtown studio," he wrote. "I find them more convincing and provocative than any news clipping or television newscast could be. Where is the power in this art? Is it in the suffering, or is it in our empathy?"
Hilary Stunda, executive director of the community center, said that those who check out the exhibit Wednesday and over the next few weeks will find it powerful.
"The whole gallery has been transformed. The works are all on metal sheets, and it's very cool," she said.
For more information, call the center at 970-922-2342 or email email@example.com.