The Harris Art Center hosted Lisa Schnellinger’s, “Beyond the Mountains: The Interior Life of Afghanistan,” a photography exhibit, as its August show for 2012.
Lisa and her husband Tom Willard will give a presentation to offer their personal insights and experience on Thursday September 6 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception.
Lisa, 51, holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State University and Master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Washinton. She is a native of Sandusky, Ohio.
She has published a wide range of work in the US and international publications, from highly textured abstract photographs to investigative reporting and travel essays.
Photography has always been entwined in her career, and in recent years has become her primary medium of personal expression. Lisa currently maintains a permanent exhibit space at Full Circle Solutions in downtown Jasper, and to view some of her works visit www.BarakaPhotos.com.
She is a board member and web site editor for the Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance and is a member of Sharpton Arts Association in Jasper and the North Georgia Photography Experience group.
Training journalists in emerging democracies has been a major part of her work since 1991.
Lisa has conducted workshops, coached and mentored hundreds of individuals in 20 countries on every aspect of written and visual journalism.
She has lived in Afghanistan, China, Dubai, Fiji and Timor-Leste. She also backpacked solo in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
In Afghanistan, Lisa was a founder and continues to act as an adviser to Pajhwok Afghan News, a national Afghan owned agency. Visit the agencies website at www.Pajhwok.com.
Pajhwok grew from a small project in which Lisa trained a handful of Afghans who had no previous experience in independent media, to an internationally known news service with more than 130 Afghan staff who cover the entire county.
Lisa’s work overseas makes her very aware of how our perception of people and places in the news can be distorted.
“People in the U.S. only see the war, corruption and religious extremism. There is much more happening in Afghanistan’s daily life,” Lisa said. “I want to take Americans into those nooks and crannies that are unexplored in news reports.”
Coupled with her education of Americans is a personal effort to help educate Afghan girls.
Since 2003, Lisa has raised funds to build and support a girls’ school in a village southeast of Kabul. In the past year this project added a library and Lisa is now raising money to finish furnishing it and filling the shelves.
Lisa sells handmade scarves, soaps, purses and other handicrafts made in Afghanistan and donates all the proceeds to the girls’ school.
The belief in information and education is key to this exhibit. “We feel our work is essential to democracy – for Americans and Afghans – so that citizens can make informed decisions,” Lisa says.