Artist Statement


 My work has a strong social justice component to it as I create images of people or groups who have been marginalized, discriminated against, or abused. My current works depict specific Philadelphians; someone living in an area homeless shelter or on the streets. The works provide faces to those who are faceless, nameless and powerless, and bear witness to those who are suffering. The current works are primarily hand sewn, large quilts, often with hand dyed fabric.(I do also create hand embroidererd batiks, paintings and drawings).  The quilts provide very large, graphic images that call attention to those forgotten by society.  They are visible markers that shout out: 'Look at me! See me!'  My endeavor is to seek expressive moments fortuitously snatched; and to record the state of this community and inspire change by bearing witness. My work contains these two intertwined threads - one poetic, one political - of portraits made in the public realm. But my practice is not only about documenting - it is also about making connections with people, and I have formed deep personal relationships with my subjects. My hope is that the work will encourage others to do the same. My experience in working with portraiture and the homeless is that the portraits serve to empower those people depicted. They are able to see themselves through the portraits as not just homeless, or jobless, but as singular individuals with an important story and history. Portraiture is an extremely powerful tool of self discovery. There is something reached, something confronting, something born or remembered when an individual and an artist can coalesce into an honest creative space and energy. 

Carolyn Harper




Philadelphia Weekly Paper calls the work "wondrous":


Philadelphia Gay News:


uwishunu Top Pick for August 2014: