Photographer and TED Fellow
As a documentary photographer, Kitra Cahana embeds herself in communities, often for months at a time, in order to learn the language of her subjects. She has chronicled the daily lives of teens at a Texas high school, told the story of a Venezuelan cult, and followed a group of nomadic youth across the United States. She is one of the youngest contributing photographers to National Geographic.
I Know A Man Who Soars Above the City: Art and the Body
In the summer of 2011, Kitra Cahana's father, Rabbi Ronnie Cahana, had a severe brainstem stroke that left him locked into his body; paralyzed from the eyes down with a fully cognizant mind. Unable to move anything below the eyes or make any sound, Cahana and her siblings became his transcribers, facilitating the expression of the inner thoughts swirling through his very active mind. They recited the alphabet for hours on end, writing slowly, tenderly, allowing him to compose sermons, poems, and essays letter by letter, blink by blink. They wrote and wrote and in between writing they moved his arms and legs that were slowly beginning to atrophy. In this talk, Cahana shares her family's story of transformation, turning a tragic situation into a profound blessing. Her keynote is accompanied by the art she created during this period: a new visual language that expresses spirituality, the body, and metamorphosis.
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