The Human Journey: Du Yun and Khaled Jarrar on Where We Lost Our Shadows

On March 31, 2019, “Where We Lost Our Shadows” had its US premiere at The Kennedy Center. The piece was created for orchestra, video, and soloists that recognizes and depicts the timeless struggle of human migration and its many effects, while celebrating the resilient human spirit that instigates and survives it. Incorporating Qawwali raga and texts by Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan, it is the creation of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun and Palestinian videographer Khaled Jarrar.

Co-commissioned by the Kennedy Center with Carnegie Hall, the American Composers Orchestra, London’s Southbank Centre, and Cal Performances, this timely new video oratorio was performed by vocalists Helga Davis and Ali Sethi, with Shayna Dunkelman on percussion and Joseph Young leading the Peabody Modern Orchestra.

The Human Journey is an unprecedented collaboration between three of D.C.’s leading cultural institutions: the Kennedy Center, National Geographic Society, and the National Gallery of Art. This initiative strives to promote deeper understanding of issues like migration (forced or by choice), exploration, identity, and the resilience of people to overcome the barriers and behaviors that stand in our way. The Human Journey also looks forward at how these forces will continue to shape our collective story and aid us in understanding ourselves in this century.

This interview video is made by Storyline, Inc., created for National Geographic, National Gallery, and The Kenney Center’s Human Journey

Slow Portraits (2013)