“I have been a visual artist, poet, educator, and motivational speaker for the arts globally for more than 30 years.
For the last decade I have experimented with multimedia applications and digital technology to explore studio production and 2 and 3-D projects. As a collage artist, I use my own sketches, hand cut ‘drawings,’ photographs, digitized images, and papers to construct traditional and digital collage works, some large scale. My technique- “drawing with scissors” uses scissors to cut preliminary sketches freehand, rather than pencil. A recent series -The Seven Valleys- is a meditation on spiritual journeying produced in France at La Muse Artist residency in 2009. In 2010, my work as a collage artist -“Capoeira”- became the book cover of Women, War, and Violence: Personal Perspectives and Global Activism (Palgrave), a book I co-edited. In addressing issues of identity, my poem “Siouxjewgermanscotblack(Cherokee)” has been published in Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out (Inanna Publcations, Inc. 2010) Frequently my visual works also have accompanying collagesn to expand the social commentary impact and alert audiences to a particular theme.
I approach creative production as the mergence of traditional and new electronic media in which a traditional medium, such as collage, can be merged with contemporary computer technology formats and applications. As a mature artist, crossing media boundaries, as well as trans-national boundaries, hybridity motivates my passion for visual documentation through autobiography and ‘visual memoir.’ My own racial hybridity is mirrored in both my techniques and thematic approach.
Crossing disciplines, I also combine work as a social scientist and artist in lecturing and published works. Two recent articles “Artisans and the Marketing of Ethnicity: Globalization, Indigenous Identity, and Nobility Principles in Micro-Enterprise Development” (Ethnic Studies Review) and Colorquest ©A Museum pedagogy on ethnic self-identity, representation and cultural histories at the Boston MFA (International Journal of Education Through Art) address my work in social movements in the arts.
I believe that artists, given their creative gifts, have a special responsibility and role as global citizens and that the artists are cultural diplomats. Since the late 1980’s, my work has focused on themes of peace, freedom, and using art to inspire, stimulate and promote thinking concerning unity and peace-building from the local to the global. One of my first series-The Peace Series- was a set of nine collages that demonstrated how humanity had evolved in our attitudes about peace and war. The titles and images reflected the first stage of peace-“the descent of the spirit of war,’ to the last four collages in the series-“The Lesser Peace.” By 1993, I had established The Peace Doors Project, a process of peace building through ‘workshopping’ the idea in South Africa, Australia, and the U.S. The reconstruction of original “handmade” works and digitally generated images allows for a discovery of new means for expressing color, form, texture, and media to explore socially-relevant ideas. For example, “Rapid Response” (2001-U-Mass, Amherst), a group exhibition on post “9-11” to a return to ‘series collages’ in “Stone Tablet Series #2-Kenya”(2008, above). My themes cover the issues of peace-making, transcultural heritage, and science-oriented imagery not originally produced by computer programs. I have revisited my artistic roots through residencies for the past three decades in sites in the U.S., South Africa, and, in the summer of 2009 in the south of France.”