Kentucky native Sonja Farah-deVries has a passion for photography and activism, and luckily for her, they’ve gone hand in hand throughout her life. Growing up in a family that valued traveling, deVries continues to explore the world either behind the lens or as part of a picket.
As a trip organizer for “Queers for Cuba,” she gained access to a country banned to U.S. tourists for decades. And through her work as a photojournalist and filmmaker, she’s also traveled to Palestine and Lebanon to document injustice.
DeVries is exhibiting 32 of her favorite photographs in a show this month at Wayside Expressions Gallery titled “After the Last Sky.” She says the photos reflect her passion for people who resist against all odds — whether that be a harsh life under occupation in Palestine or Louisville youth standing against police brutality and racism at home. The name of the exhibit comes from a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
“After the Last Sky” is on display through May 29, and there is an artist’s reception planned for Sunday, May 15, from 2-4 p.m. Wayside Expressions Gallery is located inside Hotel Louisville, 120 W. Broadway, and is a part of Wayside Christian Mission.
deVries took a few minutes from her busy schedule to answer some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
Perhaps the most surprising thing would be that I want to go see a Taylor Swift concert … probably surprising because people would expect something more profound.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
I had a lot of posters on my wall. The ones I remember are of pop singer David Cassidy and Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
If I were mayor, I would give the key to the city to Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. In affirming the lives of black, queer, trans people, women, disabled, undocumented, and people who have been incarcerated, BLM creates a vision where everyone can be free and profound, where systemic change can happen. In a world where someone like Donald Trump can run for president, we need that kind of vision.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
My preferred pizza toppings are chicken alfredo with bacon bits on top (from Clifton’s Pizza).
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
Seventeen and sober. I don’t remember much of my teenage years, so I’d like to redo a week sober and awake since I missed it the first time!
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
My aunt used to say Sophia Loren. An ex-girlfriend said I looked like Ms.Piggy from “Sesame Street” (that was usually when we were arguing).
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
Dead or alive? I would most like to be stuck in an elevator with the brilliant writer James Baldwin (he’s dead) or my awesome partner Keith Farah-deVries (he’s ALIVE, thank the gods). We would have fun!