Sharon Mansur, with Meryl Zaytoun Murman
2023 Mid-Career Professional Development Grantee | $5,000
Wayfinding (working title)
Lebanese American artist Sharon Mansur will invest in research, site explorations, creative experiments and community partnerships related to water, environment, refugees, migration, and SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) diaspora themes, in preparation for Wayfinding, a multi-media public art project in Winona, Minnesota during summer 2024. Wayfinding will be a directed collaboration with Lebanese American artist Meryl Murman, supported by supported by the McKnight International Choreographer Residency Program, and hosted by Mansur’s Cedar Tree Project platform. The McKnight Residency in Minnesota is made possible by the McKnight International Choreographer Residency Program, funded by the McKnight Foundation and administered by The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts.
Sharon Mansur (she/her) is an Arab/SWANA American dance/interdisciplinary artist, educator, curator, bodyworker and community mover and shaker, based in Winona, MN, Dakota land. Sharon is the curator of SHIFT~ experimental performance salons, and director of The Cedar Tree Project, a platform that amplifies art and artists of the Arab diaspora, inviting deeper understanding, empathy and engagement through artistic exchange. She revels in creative play, questions, and invitations, as well as facilitating: collaborations, public art happenings, immersive visual spaces, films, art jams, community meals, and more. Sharon’s site dance project 1001 Arab Futures (2021), co-directed with Yara Boustany (Lebanon), Mette Loulou von Kohl (NYC) and Andrea Shaker (MN), was shared at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MN), Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts (MN), the Arab American National Museum’s Arab Film Festival (MI), and Tiro Arts Contemporary Dance Festival, Lebanon, among other locales. Ongoing investigations include: her Lebanese identity, subtle states of transition and transformation, embodied knowing between self and environment, and connections within somatics, healing and personal/societal agency.
Meryl Zaytoun Murman (she/her) is an Arab American choreographer and filmmaker juxtaposing choreographic, cinematic and live art practices to create movement pieces that emphasize interactivity and intimacy. She is interested in how queerness, humor and performance entangle to become acts of resistance and medicine. She works often in and between communities and cultures, and her films and choreographies have been created and presented in various parts of the world including The Contemporary Art Center New Orleans, IZOLAYTSIA Platform for Cultural Initiatives in Kyiv Ukraine, Eyes Walk Festival and Dimitria 56 Festival in Thessaloniki Greece. Her diasporic lineage informs her curiosities and practice emphasizing hybridity and the Levantine tradition of bridging cultures while insisting on the imagination as a site of resistance and liberation. Thematically her work is engaged with moving bodies, particularly between borders and across binaries, and human rights in transitional spaces. She has twice received international fellowships through the US Embassy to implement multi-faceted projects with female and LGBTQ+ refugee populations in Ukraine and Northern Greece exploring sexuality, gender and the effects of assimilation and migration on the body. These projects integrate trauma informed pedagogy, a kinesthetic approach to media, ritual and public performance intervention.
The McKnight Foundation generously enables Forecast to provide Professional Development Grants for mid-career artists seeking to expand their work in the field of public art. Forecast mid- and early-career grants are designed to support independent projects, leadership development, professional development, risk-taking, multidisciplinary approaches, and collaborative problem-solving in the field of public art.