As a child and through young adulthood, I had a strong interest in drawing and painting. In my early twenties, I made a conscious decision to immerse myself in a human service career rather than one in the visual arts. I could not imagine then how to do both. For over 20 years, alongside my professional and family responsibilities, the painting was a side hobby. In 2016, after a 25-year hiatus from painting, I began a fresh and newly evolving journey as a painter by experimenting most extensively with watercolor, acrylic, oil and more recently printmaking. Guided by a series of gifted teachers, I now have a strong interest and growing experience in abstract expression - giving space for my unique take on life and the world around me to emerge.
Painting is a way of being alive - of being present to the outer and inner energies that quietly, or not so quietly, touch my consciousness. Painting is an awakening, a way of seeing and capturing in images the beauty in nature and in people, as well as hardships in the world. Jumping into this magical journey with Berna has been an important step in my artistic awakening process.
Each of her poems touches me in profound ways - evoking feelings, memories and images that inspired the paintings included in this collection. That this collaborative project brings together what have been separate paths in my life journey - positive social change work and the life-giving practice of art - gives me great satisfaction and joy.
Donna has devoted over 55 years of her life to being a social justice activist, first in Appalachia, then in the Boston area. For 20 years, she worked in and led a social policy research center at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Since 2015, after leaving her university work, she continues to deepen her service as a board member or ally with several local and international nonprofit organizations.
In the past five years, she has found ways to reignite her passions for the visual arts, most recently completing a Studio Arts Certificate program at the South Shore Art Center (SSAC) in Cohasset, MA. Exhibit opportunities to date have included a solo exhibit at the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy Massachusetts, and being part of group exhibits at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and the South Shore Art Center. A book which includes her paintings, ‘Ways To Survive’, a collaboration with Poet Berna Kahraman, will be published in Boston and Istanbul in 2020.