A visual essay on diversity and inclusion
On April 19, 2018, Roche Tissue Diagnostics (RTD), in collaboration with the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) will host an exhibition focused on the topic of diversity and inclusion titled We are human.
The exhibition was envisioned by RTD employee and artist Darlene Buhrow. She was inspired by diversity and inclusion banners around the Oro Valley campus that showcased handwritten statements on what diversity and inclusion meant to individuals working there. One corner of the banner had the words: “I am gay, I am straight, I am lesbian, I am transgender, I am bisexual” crossed out, while a final line – “I am human” – remained. “When I looked at that banner I wondered how we could capture that sentiment visually. My mind immediately thought of artists who truly captured their subjects’ essence – Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sally Mann, Duane Michals. I knew that photography was the right medium to showcase our colleagues.” She pitched her idea to RTD’s local diversity and inclusion group, Vivid (Valuing individuals, valuing inclusion and diversity), who were immediately onboard with the concept.
From that came the final concept for the We are human art exhibition. Viewers will encounter a collection of black-and-white portraits that strive to highlight RTD colleagues in an attempt to strip away biases and challenge viewers to look beyond the exterior, to see the human in each of us. In addition to being photographed, participants were asked to share five things people might not know about them. Each person’s statements will be displayed in random order, facing the portraits but not matched to the portrait of the person it belongs with. Two weeks before the show closes, the portraits will be paired with their matching list of five things. Viewers can guess which pair together, but the point is that it should not matter, as each individual should be treated the same, no matter their experiences or history.
Michael Wierzba, RTD Vivid chair, said, "I am excited to see this initiative come to life as it’s a great opportunity to see both the visible and invisible diversity at our company. I applaud all participants for being brave enough to be photographed and share some of what makes each one of them unique. Awareness of our differences and similarities allows us to create a more inclusive environment. It also helps facilitate more productive interactions within individuals, teams and departments.”
The public reception is Thursday, April 19 from 5 to 7 p.m., with refreshments and live acoustic music at Roche Tissue Diagnostics, 1910 E. Innovation Park Drive.
The Ventana Gallery at Roche Tissue Diagnostics is open to the public by appointment Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on the first and third Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call SAACA at (520) 797-3959, ext. 101. Forty-eight hours advance notice is required.
Photo and five things are below. (Please note the image and the five things are not from the same individual.)
I grew up by the sea in Plymouth, England and have a passion for sailing, and my most daring voyage was a 15-hour journey overnight from Bantry Bay, Southern Ireland to the Scilly Isles, Cornwall, England. It was dark, wet, cold and the waves were bigger than our boat, our navigation system failed as we were entering our final hour, but we could at that point at least see land. This voyage gave me huge respect for the power of the ocean and reminded me mother nature is in control!
I have a phobia for heights, caused by two incidents - the first one when I was around 10 years old - my friends climbed up to the highest diving board in Olympic size swimming pool and I of course followed. I wanted to turn around but didn’t and jumped! I was terrified and have been afraid of "free falling “ever since. The second one was in an elevator during university, when I stepped into it and it dropped. Let’s just say you will never get me sky diving.
I am partially deaf in my left ear - the result of the flu when I was around 30 - I have to consciously consider where to sit at a meeting - I normally sit at the end of a table to be able to hear as much as I can. I am glad the worst situation this caused was having to learn to sleep with constant tinnitus - it took me more than a year to adjust.
I speak German - I studied it for 8 years at school, and when I was working for Roche in Basel for the first 2 years all HR meetings were in German as I was the only non-native speaker. My admiration for anyone who works in their non-native language is huge!
Having lost my father suddenly when I was 17 years old, my family are extremely important to me. My mum and my twin brother are my rocks along now with my husband. My motto is life's too short, live for the moment!
We are human
Exhibition: April 13 through July 11
Public reception: Thursday, April 19, 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Ventana Gallery at Roche Tissue Diagnostics
1910 E. Innovation Park Drive, Oro Valley
Phone: (520) 797-3959
Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to promote engagement in arts and culture, helping our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for all ages.