[The hardest issue was] being completely powerless over what happens with your children, if you left children – I left five. My three sons all were brutally shot. I had a daughter who had run away and… refused to let anyone take my place in her life… For me, that's the hardest piece of being imprisoned, if you're a parent. Every day I worried about my kids. Every single day, every day.
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 five individuals.
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.
Whispers to God, Being Here When Women Need Me to Be Here!, 2018