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Deborah Luster

Artist Statement Submitted 2015

My best-known, photography-based projects are the result of my long-term investigation of violence and its consequences. (My mother was a homicide victim.) One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana (1998-2003) consists of “tin-types” of inmates from 3 Louisiana prisons, including Angola Prison. The archive is housed in a black, steel cabinet that requires the viewer to open the heavy drawers, remove the 5” x 4” portraits and physically touch these "invisible" persons from the state that incarcerates more of its population than any other country in the free world. Information concerning the inmates is etched on the backs of the photographic plates.
Tooth for an Eye: A Chorography of Violence in Orleans Parish (2008-2011) consists of a photographic mapping/archive of places where homicides have been committed in New Orleans. The image/texts are bound into large ledgers displayed on a viewing table constructed of Sweet Gum, Hickory and steel, again requiring the viewer to touch the work.

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