Artist’s Statement

Someone asked me the other day why I create art.  This question, implying a degree of purposefulness and mission on my part, left me puzzled.  The real reason I create art is because I must.  Art-making is such an integral, core aspect of my make-up that without it I am not whole.  I went through one period of my life where I essentially ceased producing work and during this time I felt amputated–I could feel the phantom pains reminding me what was missing.   It was a dull ache–its timbre a low rumble like hunger and difficult to ignore.  For me, this is what makes me an artist.  It is not whether or not I am “good,” whether or not I’ve “got it”…  It is whether or not I have to create art in order to be fully within my skin.

And so I create.  I manipulate pigment and viscosity on canvas.  I place my pencil tip against paper and attempt to craft a world of depth on its flatness.  I layer images, texture, and transparency until I am staring at a mirror of my insides.  I confront the world through the lens of a camera, attempting to capture just one iota of life on a square of film.  I lose and find myself for one eternal moment in the process.

Yet while I am wholly and unreservedly devoted to art, I do not hope to make a sole vocation of my work as an artist.  From speaking with other artists, I have learned that many dream of the opportunity to commit themselves and their time to art exclusively.  I however would be miserable in such a circumstance.  I would be living in a vacuum of self.  I have to feel that I am giving back to this world in order to be fulfilled.  Of course, art can serve this purpose.  But for me personally, I have to be giving back in a way that is more hands-on–giving back through face-to-face human contact, through my effort and sweat, through tears and laughter and getting my hands dirty. 

In the summer of 2002, I traveled to Guatemala to study with El Proyecto Linguistico Quetzalteco de Espanol (Quetzalteco Spanish Linguistics Project).  Founded in memory of two student activists who were kidnapped and murdered, El Proyecto Linguistico is one of the most politically active Spanish schools in Guatemala; the school donates all profits to protecting the citizens’ human rights.  We attended an array of conferences; we shook hands with ex-guerillas and massacre survivors.  The lens of my experience widened so suddenly, so dramatically, that I found my entire world-view altered. 

In Guatemala I realized the extent of my privilege.  I came to regard aspects of my life that I previously took for granted as blessings: the ability to get an education, the opportunity to eat when I felt hungry, access to clean running water.  I felt tremendous gratitude.  Even more profound, I felt a burning desire to help those who were less fortunate.


My ultimate aspiration is to be of use to my fellow man, woman, and child.  I strive daily to be a part of the solution: to contribute more to this world than I take out of it.  I will graduate from UNC in May 2010 with a B.A. in Studio Art.  I have long aspired to continue my education by earning a master’s in social work from UNC.  I am interested in the realm where the arts and service work merge.  I believe art is a potent force for healing.  Often dismissed as a luxury and a frivolity, I believe art can serve a vital role in addressing individuals’ suffering and in unifying communities. 


Ultimately, I hope to work with an at-risk youth population to explore the role art can play in overcoming trauma and catalyzing change and recovery.  I envision founding a non-profit program to bring theater, dance, music, visual art, and writing into juvenile correctional facilities.  I believe such a program would provide a channel for personal expression, an opportunity for skill-acquisition, the cultivation of discipline as a practice, and a rare emotional outlet for incarcerated youth.


I am also interested in working with rape-survivors in a similar fashion.  Women and men who have endured such experiences have been stripped not just of their dignity but of their voice.  Art is a voice which has the potential to transcend all languages and all social boundaries.  It has allowed me to discover and proclaim my voice in some of my darkest and most hopeless hours.  My dream is to be the catalyst for others discovering and proclaiming their own voices.



  1. BRAVO! I would hire, accept, want to meet you based on your statement.

  2. You are an amazing woman, Moriah. You give me goosebumps!

  3. Holly Cow ! Wow !! I had only heard a sprinkling of your love & passion until now.

  4. Your work is incredibly good Moriah. keep true to yourself and keep the fire burning. Never give up.
    You have such great talent

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