STATEMENT FOR HIMBA PORTRAIT SERIES
"Throughout our 28-year collaborative career we have visually expressed the strength, grace and wisdom of women using molten glass as our primary material. Our passion for person-to-person exchanges with people living in traditional ways in a modern world motivates us to travel and meet remarkable women.
Along with working as collaborative sculptors, we have explored photography independently since the 80s, seriously engaging during our seven lengthy international journeys. As photographers, we place particular emphasis on people and portraiture, since meeting people is what motivates us to journey. Until 2008, our photographic efforts served to chronicle our travels.
Meeting women of the Himba culture, Northern Namibia, in 2008 was an unforeseen pivotal moment in our expressive development. Like previous journeys, after a symbiotic exchange with several women we returned home with a portfolio of portraiture. We chose five images to frame and install in our home and studios.
We lived with these select portraits for several months absorbing expression and emotion, consciously and subconsciously and soon began asking questions: How can we bring them into our visual narrative?
Are techniques available to get their images into blown glass? What of distortion? Would their essence translate through blown glass? Can we translate their essence in blown glass?
Answering these questions opened a flow and included investments in classes, software, tools and equipment and required invention, endurance, tolerance, patience, conviction, support and love.
The works shown here represent our multifarious technical explorations and achievements over the last 11 years integrating original photography with blown glass form."
-Sabrina Knowles & Jenny Pohlman