The Eyes Closed project is built around the possibilities expressed in the dreams of children. “Open your eyes to see the world; close your eyes to imagine a better one.” Whenever children close their eyes, they can dream; anything can happen! This the thread in each child’s story shared through Eyes Closed.
Children speaking more than 100 languages call Anchorage their home. Under its sky they dream at night and tell stories during the day, wresting from each one meanings and symbols from their cultures.
Eyes Closed has gathered 69 stories from these children. Keys to Life will display 16 of the stories on 4’ x 8’ exhibit panels installed throughout the city in August 2018. Each panel consists of professional photographs and story excerpts. An additional five children’s dream/stories will be published in the accompanying full-color book. The panels will render Anchorage’s streets an atlas of our combined heritages.
Take seven-year old Mohamud Hassan. He was born in Uganda. His parents moved to Somalia when he was still a baby. Now they all call Alaska home, and we are fortunate, because Mohamud dreams of becoming the kindest businessman ever. For a person to be happy all he needs is “a house, clothes, and shoes,” says Mohamud.
He still remembers his early years in Somalia. Men went to work. Women washed their clothes in the rivers, often speaking about America. After the chores, they all gathered around a fire. His aunties would sing, while someone else would play drums. Back in Somalia, people had little, but they had each other. Mohamud arrived in the US two years ago not speaking English. Now he speaks it fluently and thrives at school. Whenever he attends to special events, Mohamud arrives perfectly dressed in a two-piece suit.
In the fall of 2018, Keys to Life will host school exchanges, public conversations, and other programs to extend the reach of the stories, the children who told them, and the hope for a better Anchorage that they represent
Funded by Alaska (June 2018)