As a contemporary artist, my art and writing examines the controversial issues of race relations and social justice and how the narratives about these issues are examined and told today. Through experimental creative writing techniques of extraction, erasure, and stream of consciousness, I employ the use of language––and the absence of language––to reimagine historical narratives so that a new contemporary version of history can be told. Within the new narrative, my voice, along with the silenced voices in history, can be seen through a new lens.
My body of work includes experimental extractions and erasures of racial narratives and social justice––inspired by racial tension and my own experience with interracial marriage and how this union presents unsaid difficulties about being human in a racial society which is often more about race than about being human––along with streams of consciousness that respond to these narratives. I create spaces within text to represent the narratives that exist in history which are no longer seen, along with the silenced voices that are now represented by this absence. Through the relationship between written and visual narrative, the narratives can be seen, and not just read.
The viewer is invited to immerse themselves into my work and experience an exercise in reimagining the narrative through what they see––and what they do not see––along with their own experience with race and race relations. The created spaces allow the viewer to fill in the gaps with their own story, while reimagining the stories that have been retold. In this experience, the narrative becomes that of the viewer, and the words and blank spaces act as windows and doorways into minds and souls, and becomes what each viewer tells themselves and the world around them. The narratives exist individually––and together as one––to tell one story of many, and the many stories of one.
–– Holly Jefferies