Artist Statement

Artist Statement: Deborah L. Humphreys

It begins with and has always been for me about the word. The word made world, made relationship, made image, made flesh, made poetry postcard and bookmark. I have been in love with the word since I could outline letters on a page, formed prayers on paper in second grade, sent off first-person pieces to editors at 14 and felt the words of the Beatitudes call me out of myself and into community. In the circle of my family, words have given me a particular role as first daughter. I have been the one who always writes the family stories from an insider/outsider perspective. Writing that ensures nothing essential will be lost. Writing is always there to help me find my way—to record my steps, my journey.

There is joy in this grand adventure, as learner, as witness, as  choreographer of transformation—individual hearts, communities and my own soul.I find poetic voice as well in the Irish of my ancestors, in Spanish of my neighborhood, in the vernacular of the Newark streets as well as in the percussive rhythm of the tumbao, the slipji g tune of the bodhrán, As an interdisciplinary artist, I see symbols and patterns, photograph them, paint them, layer them, transform them and pair them with words. With all of these resources of color, texture, sound, I can tell a story as it needs to be told. Haiga, illustrated haibun, collage, lyric essay, narrative poem, multimedia performance  are all products of my reflection—the flash of soul across the skin of each day. 

And I offer my work to be shared. I see myself developing into a millennium version of the seanchai, a multimedia storyteller. With those ancient stories of beginnings, the more recent ones of immigration, struggle and belonging, and the hopes yet to be realized about how we are to live together into the future of our desiring, we will be busy for a very long time.  . 

 23 November 2007

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