"Access and Inequities: I Hear You, Do You See Me?"
by robin holder
Starting with Behind Each Window, A Voice, a series I created with the 1999 Individual Visual Artist Grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council, I have been using variations of house images for 20 years. The houses suggest home, family, and sanctuary, the fundamental the need to belong, be nurtured and acknowledged. Home is the origin of our traditions, the sacred place where identity is developed, taught and shared. We are forgetting to listen to one another, to celebrate our unlikeness and appreciate unfamiliar cultural characteristics.
These works are inspired by the extraordinary ethnic, religious, class, racial and cultural diversity vibrating in New York City and The United States. Oral stories inspired by interviews appear in some works, others have titled or crumbling structures expressing the polarization of our “Melting Pot”. The portraits echo fear, confusion frustration as we witness the collapsing of our middle class vision; the American dream of a welcome for all, attainable prosperity and civility. My research-based images present testimonies and questions regarding who is treated with dignity, respect, and honor? Who is denied the most fundamental privileges and rights?
I employ various techniques to achieve these works. Digitizing my colored pencil portraits allows me to edit and manipulate the images, enlarging and collaging elements. I use photo litho, Xerox transfer, stencil and archival inkjet printing, monoprinting and foil stamping.
My motivation for exploring complicated layers of the impact that race, gender, class, education, religion, has on each one of us is deeply rooted in my unusually atypical family and upbringing. I grew up in an activist, inter racial, multiethnic family in New York City and was taught to continuously explore identity and culture by asking questions: who, why, what, where, where and how.