Terry Tempest Williams and Fazal Sheikh

A conversation about their collaborative project, The Moon is Behind Us
Terry Tempest Williams Fazal Sheikh The Moon is Behind Us Point Reyes Books
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 6:00pm


Sliding scale ($0-$100)

Terry Tempest Williams and Fazal Sheikh join us to discuss their collaborative project, The Moon is Behind Us (Steidl), a collection of letters and photographs composed during the tumultuous early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This event will be streamed on our Crowdcast channel.


About The Moon is Behind Us

An intimate personal correspondence between two leading political artists at a time of crisis

In the summer of 2020, their collaboration suddenly halted by COVID-19, photographer Fazal Sheikh (born 1965) and writer, educator and activist Terry Tempest Williams (born 1955) found themselves 5,000 miles apart, Sheikh in Zurich, Switzerland, Tempest Williams in Castle Valley, Utah. Like so many others, they communicated across the days and nights by text and email, reflecting on the state of politics as the pandemic spread across the world.

Looking back over his work, Sheikh decided to make a gift for Tempest Williams as a gesture of friendship and respect in troubled times. He selected 30 images, one for each year of his life as an artist, corresponding to one complete cycle of the moon. Some weeks later, a package arrived in Zurich. Inside were 30 letters from Tempest Williams, each responding to a single image, written across 30 days, another lunar cycle.

Studying the images had led her to wider, more philosophical considerations of the ways they connected to contemporary events: climate change, the rise of Black Lives Matter, the advances of women and--the focus of her work with Sheikh--their alliance with Native Nations in the American southwest supporting Bear Ears National Monument and the protection of these sacred lands.

The spontaneous nature of the correspondence in the middle of the pandemic made it all the more immediate, and when images and words were placed together, both artists where surprised by the intimacy of what they created in isolation. They felt it could be an offering to others who shared their concerns and might find comfort in the exchanges.

This book is the result of a friendship forged through art and their shared desire to collaborate on issues larger than themselves in a world broken and beautiful.

About the participants

Fazal Sheikh is an artist who uses photographs to document people living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world.

Terry Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of Erosion: Essays of Undoing, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks; Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; Finding Beauty in a Broken World; and When Women Were Birds, among other books. Her work is widely taught and anthologized around the world. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Harvard Divinity School. She and her husband Brooke Williams divide their time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Castle Valley, Utah.

Fazal Sheikh & Terry Tempest Williams: The Moon Is Behind Us Cover Image
By Fazal Sheikh (Photographer)
ISBN: 9783958298804
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Steidl - September 28th, 2021