Darlene La Mar

Artist Statement

  I ride the city bus where young black (brag) that they were just released from prison, as if it was their rite of passage to manhood. Young black women still “on paper” reveal their plans to do what they got to do to get over. Black teen girls throw their self-respect away, dressing and acting(like pop stars. Foul-mouth teenage boys want to fight with everyone and every female to them is a “B”. Departing the bus, I walk the inner city streets, sometimes through the midst of heated arguments, not knowing if someone has a weapon.I thought that art reflected the time in which we lived. Aren’t there more social issues, diseases, and slaves than ever before? At least that’s what I read. But focusing more on this region, why have we created art and jargon inaccessible to certain classes of people or fails to address the different ways of seeing? Or do those who we deem less fortunate need non black or non Hispanic artists putting up work dictating to them what they should have in their communities? Can this be doing more harm than good? In the schools where I have worked, little 3rdgrade black girls are openly communicating hatred for their image. They adamantly declare they want to be white because “white girls have long hair and they have and do everything.”I’m not saying that black art or Hispanic art should show brown or caramel skin images popping up everywhere or only deal with the negativity. Also I’m not saying not to embrace academia or European art. I loved living in Europe and absorbing their art culture so much that I became illegal. What I do see is a need to create an artistic path to deconstruct the psychological complexities to begin a dialogue for change in the community. I am not an established artist. Four months after 9/11, I was sent back to the states. I wasn’t focused on creating art in the states. For 7 years I only worked in children programs. But I now have a purpose, the passion and moral responsibility to create my art again. I love the idea of gorilla art. During the fellowship year, I want to try something different, create quick installations in the inner city. The residents can actively be a part, discuss issues and relay that experience in writing.By putting the expressionist viewpoint of “exploring the inner landscape of the soul” in my conceptual installations, I convey much more than any other medium that I use. I escape into a world where there are no rules to follow. I allow the space to dictate what it needs. I take the risk of content becoming more important than the aesthetics. I find that, because I share my personal life with installations, people share their personal lives with me.