Intisar Abioto’s ‘The Black Portlanders’ expands to all of Oregon with new partnership

Photograph by Intisar Abioto

Local photographer and storyteller Intisar Abioto, who has worked on The Black Portlanders project since February 2013, is now packing up her camera and traveling throughout Oregon to expand the breadth of her photography subjects. Abioto is partnering with the Urban League of Portland to produce photo accompaniments and conduct interviews for the next edition of the State of Black Oregon. Abioto will serve as photographic director for the important report.

This year’s State of Black Oregon is a follow-up to the 2009 report, which included stories and data that first made the troubling social and economic realities of black Oregonians visible. According to Abioto, 2014’s report will feature “exploratory photography/imagery, and narrative and lived experience to illustrate the social and economic reality of black Oregonians.”

The Urban League and Abioto will travel together to Ashland, Eugene, Bend, and Coos Bay to conduct interviews and photograph participants.

“My goal within the project will be to photograph and illustrate the diverse presence of black people in Oregon, both urban and rural,” remarks Abioto. “What does black Oregon look like? Who are black Oregonians? Where are we?”

“I don’t have a working mental image of what black Oregon looks like. Do you?” she asks rhetorically. “Exactly!”

Abioto seeks suggestions and leads on possible participants who would be willing to be photographed and share their story. She has expressed an eagerness to travel anywhere in Oregon to find these stories and an appreciation of any help. Please email her with your suggestions.

PDX Magazine published a collaborative narrative essay project with Abioto in its seventh issue, which can be read here. The Black Portlanders project is available to view online.

In addition, Abioto speaks on theme of heritage this Friday at the Ecotrust (721 NW 9th Ave.) as part of the CreativeMornings lecture series.

Above, Flora, Matthew, and Justice photographed by Intisar Abioto in Central Point, Oregon for The Black Portlanders.


Mary Locke


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