Profoundly Aware | Planet Jackson Hole

September 8, 2015

Project exposes the quiet battles being fought by valley residents

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – The disquieting image of a little boy sprawled facedown on a Turkish beach stunned the world last week, spiking global cognizance of the trajectories Syrians are risking to escape war. Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned when a dinghy wrestling the Mediterranean Sea capsized. The 15-foot vessel was en route to the Greek island of Kos. NPR reported that the boy’s mother and 5-year-old brother also perished.

As four million Syrians flee a war-torn land, European countries are closing borders while politicos, such as former French President Nicolas Sarkozy likened the number of refugees seeking asylum to “a pipe bursting in your house.”

But heartrending images, like that of little Aylan, have the ability to soften icy perceptions by stirring empathy and compelling people to action. The Guardian reported Thursday that in Britain, where only 216 refugees have been accepted, Prime Minister David Cameron now promises, “We will do more.”

At the core of The Awareness Project Jackson Hole is this understanding: that images and stories farm compassion among people, particularly those walking divergent paths.

Conceived by valley advocate Nancy Hoffman and photographer Anne Muller, The Awareness Project illuminates the sometimes-hushed struggles facing people in the valley through photographs, video and written word found at the project’s website – and at an upcoming exhibit and symposium at the library in November.