Member of the Month August 2020
WE WALK TALL is a proclamation and response to the dramatic social upheaval that impacted me and other women of color immediately following the United States presidential election on November 8th, 2016. In the first few uneasy days that followed the election, a chain of events led to this work. Conversations with a close friend regarding threats to women’s rights and the onslaught of hate crimes, a timely radio airing of “Walk Tall” by Cannonball Adderley featuring Jesse Jackson, and a dinner party with friends who took solace in the fact that, “at least [they] were white” compelled me to have women of color be seen, heard, and not shy away in uncertain times.
These portraits reference the strength of pose, lighting, and color palette often used in 19th-century presidential portraits. The surnames and prefixes as to what “type” of American these women are have been removed to represent ethnic neutrality and coequality. The American flag that each of these women is wrapped in is the burial flag my Jewish American grandfather was honored with for his service during World War II fighting to preserve freedom and equality. This series celebrates and honors a new generation of American women of color who are proud, want their voices heard, and choose to walk tall.
Morgan DeLuna was born and raised outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and relocated to Southern California in 2004.
Morgan’s background in the performing arts was a precursor to her visual arts practice. Using a conceptual approach she explores the human condition and liminal space. Themes around the relationship between identity, appearance, and human connection are the core of her work. Growing up in a Midwestern, multi-ethnic, interfaith family informs DeLuna’s practice. Researching topics in the fields of sociology, history, and science is a crucial element to her art-making process.
Morgan studied Art and the Creative Process at UCSD and Photography at Palomar College. DeLuna’s work has been exhibited in spaces nationally and internationally including San Diego Art Institute, PH21 Gallery in Budapest, and FotoNostrum in Barcelona. Morgan was the winner of the 14th Julia Margaret Cameron Award, Self-Portrait category.