Nelson Morales asks the question: Can creativity make the world a more compassionate place?

On Friday, September 8, hundreds of creative Charlotteans gathered at Warehouse 242 to explore our global theme of “Compassion” along with 172 fellow chapters around the world. Here at home, our speaker was Nelson Morales, a Mexican photographer and current Artist in Residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. His work focuses heavily on the Muxe of Oaxaca – people who identify as a “third gender” and live in one of the few places in the world accepting of their culture.

We chose Nelson because he shows us that creativity can serve a powerful role in building compassion for others – in particular, those who are different from us. Each click of his camera is a gorgeous gesture of compassion for people who are “other.” Over time, Nelson found himself stepping in front of his own compassionate lens to pose alongside the Muxe people – ultimately (and bravely) facing his own emerging identity as Muxe.

About the speaker

Nelson Morales was born in Unión Hidalgo Oaxaca. He studied communication sciences in Oaxaca. For seven years he has dedicated himself to photography, with the majority of his work based on sexual diversity. Has studied the following programs: Photo Book Incubator Program, La Hydra, Mexico, 2016. Contemporary Photography Seminar, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico, 2015. Contemporary Photography Program, Gimnasio de Arte y Cultura, 2013, Fotoensayo 5, Pachuca México, 2012. He has had several exhibitions in Mexico and in countries such as Spain, Malaysia, Colombia, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands. Has obtained these recognitions: Honorable Mention, “Jóvenes en el Espejo” (Young people on the mirror), Mexico, Fotoensayo Fellowship Awarded, Mexico. Winner, “Te hace ver mas” (Makes you see more), Channel 11, Mexico. Winner, “Los jóvenes, la primavera visual de sus crisis y sus esperanzas,” Mexico. He received the Stella Johnson Scholarship to participate as the Mrs. Johnson photographer assistant. Finalist, II Oaxaca Photography Biennial, Mexico, 2015-2016. FONCA Young Artists Fellowship. Honorable Mention, POY Latam, Latin America. Finalist, I Oaxaca Photography Biennial, Mexico. Finalist, Kuala Lumpur Photo Fest Awards, Kuala Lumpur. His work has been published in several magazines, and most recently in the book Reveal and Detonate. Fotografía en México. In the coming months, he will be an Artist in Residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation.

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