My Own Witness: Rupture and Repair - Statement
My Own Witness: Rupture and Repair.Danielle.11
Pigment print on museum-quality cotton rag paper, gold rice paper, gold thread; 13" x 19"; Unique
My Own Witness: Rupture and Repair
Following the 2016 presidential election, I initiated portrait collaborations between those who – through race, sexuality, gender identity, age, ethnicity, and/or disability – felt they had been deemed invisible and un-entitled to their place in this American moment. Storytelling through pose, gesture, gaze, and props, they turned themselves "inside out" to visually assert their identity and invite a visceral face-to-face encounter with their humanity. The shared black velvet background and chiaroscuro lighting create an aesthetic unity, joining the individual to the collective. In response to these presently turbulent times, I decided to use the portraits to bring physical expression to injuries brought on by the pandemic, ongoing racial and economic inequality, and other areas of present unrest. I ripped the portraits to create “wounds” that reflect our individual and collective traumas. Then, inspired by the Japanese practice of Kintsugi – which mends broken pottery by using gold lacquer to repair damage while highlighting the scars – I restored the torn portraits using golden rice paper and thread. The resulting scars remind us that we must not forget the incidents that create our wounds, but rather use them as inspiration to move forward and mend our fractured relationships with ourselves and each other.