Cindy O’Dell speaking with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in her exhibition, Messengers of Yesterday, 2013 Famine Commemoration, Kilrush Ireland
I was born in Oregon and grew up in Iowa. I am a photographer, video artist, and author who employs an experimental documentary style to counter traditional modes of representation, particularly in relation to class and gender. I have had a camera in my hand since I was 13 for over thirty years. I attempt to create transformative experiences for the viewer. I routinely push the boundaries of the genre, employing mixed media, text and image, non-narrative video and multi-channel installation. I address loss narratives and try to use the power of a visual language to conceptually subvert inequitable power systems.
Thematically, I explore notions of gender identity; biography and self; and land, memory and place. I work within a cultural and/or historical framework that ties together both personal and global concerns. I often employ the autobiographical format to explore larger issues, such as gender and class. I am interested in dispelling stereotypes and my practice embodies activism -- seeking to enlighten the viewer and incite change or, at the very least, create awareness. Ultimately, through my experimental documentary work I attempt to find beauty in the midst of the human struggle.