You Tell Me a Story. I Draw You a Picture
Documentary Fine Art
What is Documentary Fine Art?
It is when artist, Debra Wuliger, interviews a community of people, listens to their stories and photographs them as they tell it. She then turns what she discovers into drawings, paintings and public art installations which creates a window into their community.
Debra has heard stories and photographed people in Caldwell County, North Carolina about a place that is special because of what happened to them there. Those images became watercolor portraits. In the project Wisdom Collects, Debra listened to people tell a transformational story of their lives and their photographs became expressive line drawings.
Dangerous Wise Women
Danger in it’s oldest form means to protect, that literally you would say
You, stand in my danger.
You stand in the aura surrounding me.
I will protect, I will help, I will defend, I will lead, I will hold back, I will restrain, I will open up, I will carve doors in walls.
You stand in my danger.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estes
“The Dangerous Old Woman, Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype”
I am searching for the
Dangerous Wise Women in the world.
I want to listen to their stories, to capture their images,
to draw and paint them and then
to share them with the world.
I am a child of the patriarchy, daughter of a powerful father and a mother who taught me that to be a woman was to be submissive. I understood women were powerless and being an older woman was to be the least powerful of all. To become older is to become less.
Or so the culture teaches.
As I grow into older age I have been confronted not only with the cultural ideas of age but also my own internal beliefs of age:
voiceless, powerless, helpless, weak.
I found Dangerous Wise Women in the gaggle of Raging Grannies that I have documented here in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Raging Grannies are women social activists, all old enough to be grandmothers. A gaggle is a group of grannies that form to support each other. They dress up in hats, aprons, and shawls to mock the stereo types of older women and sing songs at protests. They write these songs themselves, putting new lyrics to popular music.
As an artist, it is my job to put out emotional feelers to perceive what is happening underneath situations. In order to capture this inner work I chose to do expressive drawings of the Grannies.
The quality of the line I used, the slight distortions of the figure and the colors chosen in the work all help to express these inner insights and give a clearer idea of who the grannies are and the work they do.
I also wove their songs and their stories into the work, writing their words on their aprons, hats and backgrounds.
This married the text to the image creating a seamless whole.
The Dangerous old woman is of any age. She is the Protectress. She is passionate, observant, experienced. She is Dangerous because she can see behind things. She knows human nature for what it really is. She is wise because she knows what works for the soul, spirit, mind and body. In order to preserve the things in this world that never can be allowed to perish. She will protect anything of goodness that has electricity in it, of anything that has the merest spark she will breathe on it and bring it back to life. Her home is in the Soul and everything that comes from her will be soulful.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estes “The Dangerous Old Woman,
Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype”