Water Warriors | Michael Premo and Andrew Stern

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January 8, 2016 – February 27, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, January 8, 6:00-9:00pm
Workshop: Visual Storytelling as Activist Strategy: Sunday, January 10, 4:00-6:00pm.
Reading Group: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein: Sunday, January 31, 4:00-5:30pm.
Community Discussion: The Role of Images in Environmental Campaigns: Sunday, February 21, 4:00-5:30pm



Water Warriors is a photography and film-based installation chronicling the successful efforts of one community’s resistance to fossil fuel drilling. In 2013, when a Texas energy company began exploring for natural gas, members of the Mi’kmaq Elsipogtog First Nation, French-speaking Acadians, and English-speaking families united to drive out the company in an ongoing campaign to protect their land, water and way of life. After months of resistance, their efforts not only halted drilling; they also won the election of a new government and a conditional moratorium on fracking.

By capturing an inspiring struggle to protect water for future generations, the exhibition provides a first hand look at what The Guardian has called “the frontline of a democratic fight.” With the portrayal of the efforts of ordinary people, Water Warriors invites audiences to contemplate and re-imagine their own possibilities for resistance. “Water Warriors presents a creative opportunity to learn about the public health and environmental impacts of fossil fuel extraction and engage in efforts to develop alternatives that are less harmful to the natural environment and public health,” said Molly Murphy, co-director of Working Films, a nonprofit organization that is co-producing the exhibition with Storyline Media.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Newspace will host workshops and events for artists and community members focused on employing photography and film for environmental and civic engagement.


Michael Premo is a photojournalist, filmmaker and artist who is a leader in the field of transmedia. He creates award winning participatory documentaries that invite deep community engagement in, either or both, the process of creation and the exhibition strategies. He is a co-creator and Executive Producer of Sandy Storyline, a participatory documentary that collects and shares stories about the ongoing impact of Hurricane Sandy, which won the inaugural Transmedia Award from the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. He co-created the multimedia storytelling project Housing is a Human Right, connecting diverse communities around housing, land, and the dignity of a place to call home. His radio documentaries have been broadcast internationally and his photography has appeared in numerous outlets including The New York Times, The Village Voice, Narrative.ly, Het Parool and more. He has created and produced original works of art and media with numerous companies including Hip-Hop Theater Festival, The Foundry Theater, The Civilians, Penny Arcade, and the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps. He is the Executive Producer of Storyline Media.

Andrew Stern is a photojournalist whose focus on the most pressing social and political issues of our times has taken him around the world. His work has won numerous awards and has appeared in Harpers, The New York Times, Readers Digest, The Guardian and many other domestic and international publications. He is also the founder of Starr Street Studios and Be Electric Studios providing commercial photography and video services.
Water Warriors is produced by Storyline Media and Working Films.

Jospeh Gallivan interviews Michael Premo,” KBOO Art Focus. January 12, 2016.

Kathryn Kendell, “Michael Premo: Documentary Storyteller,” Polaroid Blipfoto. January 11, 2016

All public programs are free, open to the public, and take place at Newspace (1632 SE 10th Ave).
Additional event information is available on Newspace’s website.

Opening Reception: Friday, January 8, 6:00– 9:00pm. Artist Michael Premo will be present.

Workshop: Visual Storytelling as Activist Strategy: Sunday, January 10, 4:00-6:00pm.
Documentary photography and films offer powerful mediums for engaging communities in action to address issues of human rights and environmental injustice. The session will show participants how to leverage a story, while maintaining their creative vision and aesthetic integrity. Participants will learn how to use exhibitions and screening events to raise the visibility of their work, collaborate with non-traditional allies, engage the strategic audiences and make an impact. The session will show participants how to leverage a story within their organizations and in communities. Case studies will showcase ways that documentary art has been used to bolster organizing for racial justice and sustainability.

Led by Michael Premo, Storyline Media and Molly Murphy, Working Films.

Reading Group: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein: Sunday, January 31, 4:00-5:30pm.
Join us to for an informal discussion of the chapter “Blockadia: The New Climate Warriors” from Naomi Klein’s acclaimed book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. “Blockadia” addresses local community organizing initiatives around issues pertaining to environmental justice.

* It is also advised to read the Introduction chapter of the book. A copy of the book is available at Newspace. Contact us for questions: curator@newspacephoto.org

Community Discussion: The Role of Images in Environmental Campaigns: Sunday, February 21, 4:00-5:30pm. Panelists: Julia DeGraw | Barbara Ford | Amy Harwood| Trip Jennings. Newspace, in collaboration with BARK, will host a community discussion on the pointed uses of images in environmental activist campaigns. We will consider a range of questions including: Do images have the transformative abilities that photojournalists have long-claimed? How to organizations and community groups utilize images to forward social change? How are they manipulated or staged to align with a campaign agenda? When does the image cross over to the realm of propaganda, and what are the implications to activists?

Newspace welcomes the opportunity to collaborate on programs related to our exhibitions. If you would like to hold an event in conjunction with Water Warriors, please contact curator@newspacephoto.org.

Check our website for pricing and registration information.

Education Lecture Series: Bearing Witness: From Social Documentary to Photojournalism: January 19, 7:00-8:30pm | Instructor: Molly Newgard

Words and Pictures: Photoblogging and Web Publishing for Photographers: January 23, 12:00-3:00pm | Instructor: Lorelle VanFossen

Visual Storytelling: February 24 – March 30, 6:30-9:30pm | Instructor: Charles Purvis



Newspace Center for Photography is located at 1632 10th Ave, Portland, OR.

Gallery hours: Monday – Thursday 10:00am-9:30pm; Friday – Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm.

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For press inquiries contact: curator@newspacephoto.org