We See Heaven Upside Down, migration 4 - Charlotte, NC


Press preview


Seven visual artists and one film maker of regional, national and international recognition were chosen for the 6-week exhibition at Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art. Additionally, several international composers and musicians have contributed new original music for a live performance turned music installation. In and through visual and performing arts, the project seeks to spur and inspire moments of genuine empathy towards other individuals and their journeys. The multi-phase city-wide project was awarded the Arts & Science Council 2018 Cultural Vision Grant.


We continue developing the main components of project:

1. The creation of an original musical score and sound installation by American composer/musician, Todd Clouser collaborating with Syrian trumpet player, Milad Khawam. Inspired by personal stories of those who experienced displacement, the sound installation score will be used in the next WSHUD art exhibition and developed for a full-length, multi-disciplinary, dance-theatre production, HEAVEN.

2. A  group art exhibition aligning with the project’s goal of creative dialog.

3. A collection of archived interviews to be presented in an accessible online database.  


Community activities include sneak peaks, artist talks, public forums, creative workshops, pop-up exhibitions and interview sessions presented in Charlotte, emphasizing the inclusion of underserved areas with large immigrant populations.


Scheduled events:


*May 3, 2019 - June 15, 2019

We See Heaven Upside Down - group exhibition

Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

Friday, May 3, 6-8pm - Opening reception with artists



Participating Visual Artists

Nico Amortegui (Colombia)

Luis Coray (Switzerland)

MyLoan Dinh (Vietnam)

Michelle Gregory (USA)

Cannupa Hanska Luger (USA)

Susanne Roewer (Germany)

Rosalia Torres-Weiner (Mexico)

Dellair Youssef (Syria) - film


*Thursday, May 16

HEAVEN in A-Flat, A musical response – Moving Poets live concert/performance and installation

Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

6:30 – 8pm (performance begins promptly at 7pm)

This is fundraiser for the continuing development of Moving Poets' We See Heaven Upside Down project.

Tickets $25 advance, $30 door


Participating Performers, Composers & Musicians

Tanja Bechtler (Switzerland) - cello

Todd Clouser (USA) - composer, guitar, vocals

Tom Constanten (USA) - piano/keyboard

Aron Cruz (Mexico) - bass

Hernan Hecht (Argentina) - drums

Mike Kenerley (USA) - drums

Milad Khawam  (Syria) - composer, trumpet

Till Schmidt-Rimpler (Germany) - artistic direction, bass

Bob Teixeira (USA) - classical guitar

Alyce Cristina Vallejo (USA) - dance

Chuck Sullivan (USA) - poetry


*Wednesday, May 22 

Conversation/Presentation with Burke Prize Recipient Cannupa Hanska Lugar

Millennial Art Program

Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

6:00 – 8pm


Cannupa Hanska Luger is a New Mexico-based, multi-disciplinary artist. Raised on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, he is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian descent. Through social collaboration and by responding to timely and site-specific issues, Luger produces multi-pronged projects of many forms. Through monumental installations that incorporate ceramics, video, sound, fiber, steel, and cut-paper, Luger interweaves performance and political action to communicate stories about 21st-century Indigeneity. Luger is the recipient of the NYC Museum of Arts and Design’s 2018 Burke Prize, an inaugural award celebrating ‘highly accomplished work, strong use of materials, innovative processes, and conceptual rigor and relevance’. Luger has exhibited internationally, including the Princeton University Art Museum, Washington Project for the Arts, Art Mûr (Montreal), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (AR), Orenda Gallery (Paris), Autry Museum of the American West, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (Atlanta). He lectures and participates in residencies around the globe and his work is collected internationally. Luger holds a BFA in studio arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts.


*Thursday, May 30 

Screening of documentary short film“Exile,” by Syrian film maker Dellair Youssef and moderated panel discussion with Marsha Hirsch (Executive Director, Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency), case wroker & former Bhutanese refugee Thakur Mishra, Rusty Reynolds (Executive Director, International House),  and multi-disciplinary artist MyLoan Dinh.  Moderator: Sonya Pfeiffer

Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

6:30 – 8pm 


Dellair Youssef is a director and writer born in Damascus, Syria, from which he fled in 2011. He has directed several films, including ‘The Princes of the Bees’, ‘Exile’, ‘Banyas: The Beginnings’, and ‘Clothesline’, which have been screened at multiple international film festivals. Youssef is also the author of ‘Tales of this Time’ (2014), which shares his life, travels and reflections on the Syrian revolution. His articles and essays are regularly featured in Arabic blogs and newspapers, as well as in a selection of German newspapers and magazines. Youssef studied Ecology at Damascus University and film studies in Syria and the Netherlands. Alongside his professional work, he has volunteered with NGOs in Syria and Lebanon since 2007. He is now based in Berlin, Germany.


*POP-UP Book workshop, Class 2

Sunday, May 5, 1 - 4 pm

International House, 1817 Central Ave #215, Charlotte, NC 28205

Free, materials provided

space is limited

Registration required: weseeheaven@movingpoets.org


*POP-UP Book pop-up exhibition & potluck

International House -  tba





*March 17, 2018, Poets Cabin

Community Bead Project and Potluck 

materials provided, free 

In collaboration with We See Heaven Upside Down artist//colleague, Cannupa Hanska Luger

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Queer and Trans People BEAD PROJECT


Charlotte participants: Moving Poets Charlotte, Carolina Clay Connections, CPCC - Ceramic Dept.


*April 21, 2018, Queens University, Duke Auditorium

DREAM America: Arts Advocacy Forum

Curatorial Activism: Panel presentation featuring Sonya Pfeiffer owner/director of Elder Gallery Contemporary Art

& MyLoan Dinh, visual artist & founder of We See Heaven Upside Down

Sponsored by Queens University Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice



*April 23 - 27, 2018, Davidson College

Inseparable Stranger: Interactive Map Installation Workshop & Artist Talk

Student Union, room 209

Workshop 4:30-6pm, Artist Talk 7 - 8pm

Sponsored by Davidson Refugee Support - free admission


Participate in an interactive map installation addressing the basic questions of identity as it relates to challenges of migration, displacement, identity and home. Join us for a free workshop, as we respond to the dialog questions, build the interactive map and explore our inseparable connection to one another. The installation began in Berlin in 2016 and will migrate and grow to other cities and towns internationally in the years ahead. Thus far, hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds have participated.  Dialog Questions include:  What is home? What is family? What is a woman? What is a man? What is a child? What do you miss? What do you wish for? What is freedom?


*POP-UP Book workshop

International House - Nov. 2018

materials provided, free 

1:00 - 6:00pm




More info, dates and locations TBA




If you are interested in bringing the We See Heaven Upside Down project to your gallery, museum, creative space or educational institution please contact us.