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Whispers to God, Being Here When Women Need Me to Be Here!

113 x 150 x 7.25 in. (287.02 x 381 x 18.415 cm)

Carl Joe Williams (New Orleans, LA, 1970 – ) Artist

Object Type: Installation
Medium and Support: multimedia installation with three-channel video
Credit Line: Gift of the artist
Accession Number: 2019.21.1

Artist Statement
Statement by Carl Joe Williams, on his artistic response to Dolfinette Martin’s experience:

When I started this work series, I was interested in the exploration of ideas to create work about mass incarceration. I wanted to create work that could be broken down into components of video testimony and expression to create experiential pieces. In part, a portion of those components exist as an activist work in cyberspace. The pieces would allow formally incarcerated people to tell their own compelling stories. Prisoners of injustice could spark a movement of consciousness, raise awareness, and promote change. The process was filmed over four hours of interviews with 5 people.
Through a series of meetings, I had chance to interview Dolfinette Martin. I wanted her words to be featured as a larger installation piece. I wanted to create a piece that served as a portrait, as an activist message, as a document of the impact of this type of loss of freedom to women. Through the portrait of Ms. Martin’s perspective and consequential work with women who have been incarcerated, the message of despair, injustice and deliverance is illuminated.

I was moved by Dolfinette’s statement that all the risk factors - such as being poor, the lack of opportunity and lack of access to resources - were central to imprisonment; crimes had little to do with what was actually committed. This idea was profound, and it has stuck with me as a major social problem for us to resolve. 

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