SAY MY NAME
After witnessing the unbearable storms of painfully dehumanizing and violent events during 2020, particularly the murder of George Floyd, I could not help pushing my art-imaging into something akin to artful activism. At my very core, I needed some way to support the challenges in the daily lives of marginalized people. I headed in a direction that might give voice to the individual consequences of being “different”.
As a cisgender, white, woman, I became acutely aware of my life of privilege. From that “personal space”, I decided to offer a “safe place” to invite individuals share their stories of oppression and trauma. I hoped to encourage their voices to echo from a shadowy corner of societal “other-ness”.
The first step I chose was to post a “prospectus” and contact information on multiple social media platforms (due to the pandemic). I hoped to find those would trust me enough to share a story of an event or time in their lives when they were oppressed. This call was open to all people--Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color, LGBTQ+ community, and women. The responses I received came from 16 states and 4 other countries. I wanted to make sure that even though an individual might share some of their darkest moments, they had full autonomy over their information--what story they included, if they wanted to send an audio recording, and if they wanted their real name attached to their story and portrait. I also asked for a photo of their choosing that would be a starting point to create their portrait.
So we arrive at this collection of portraits I have called, SAY MY NAME.
My goal has been to create portraits of the wholeness of these survivors. Their scars are deep but perhaps these stories might give way to some awareness of their pain, struggle, and victory! I ask if you would please use their correct pronouns.
WARNING…Please! What you will see is a collection of stories that include racism, sexism, sexual assault, incest, and emotional and physical abuse. I trust viewers to respect the vulnerability that is on full display. These participants were offered a safe place of which you are now a part. Can you hear their voices with a full heart, embrace them and their lives without judgment? Each person you see here is part of our common humanity, is part of ourselves.