The Portraits

I first met with Drs. Moxley and Washington to discuss the possibility of joining the Telling My Story team in the Spring of 2004. But it would be yet another year before the actual work of preparing the portraits would start. Even as I began, I was still unsure of what to expect. My assigned task was to create narrative portraits of eight African American women 50 years of age and older who were in various stages of recovery from homelessness. Far from being literal portraits with formal poses, my objective was to create what was in essence a conceptual portrait made up of a variety of elements, composed in such a way as to create some kind of emotional and informed response. The artwork that now fills this exhibition is the result of collaborations between this artist and the women whose lives are described in each piece...

As for these eight ladies, along with the research team from Wayne State, ultimately, I am left in awe…of the journeys they’ve made, and the vision they and the researchers possess. We are each only a thin line from facing the prospect of homelessness. And we each have to ask ourselves... do we have the strength within us to survive? Would we have the strength to recover? Do we possess the creative vision to offer so much more than simply the kindness of strangers. And, as a community, will we ever recognize that this is not just kindness we need to share. It is, ultimately, our humanity.

~ Mara Jevera Fulmer, Artist/Curator

[excerpted from the Exhibition Catalog.]




last revised June 4, 2006