Charles Stonewall

Pearls in the Sand


Charles Stonewall is a photographic artist and an Adjunct Assist. Professor of Photography at Johnson County Community College. Published works include USITT’s Theatre Design & Technology magazine & the American Indian College Fund’s Annual Report.  Charles's CV

Project Description

My project is an installation of photographs serving several purposes: a visual witness to society, a stimulus for dialog, and a moving testimony on behalf of the victims of domestic violence.

My photographs, along with poetic text, will be displayed in an installation, one designed to fully surround, immerse, and engage viewers. My background of volunteering for SAFEHOME, my skills in photography, video and theatre lighting inform my work as an artist. Actors portrayed in the photographic installation will depict the struggles of those seeking shelter from abuse, preserving the privacy and dignity of the victims.

Several people close to me have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence making my motivation for undertaking this project both strong and personal. The impact of such horrific crimes seem unimaginable to most of us, particularly the path of recovery, and the challenge of regaining self esteem and self-respect. As an empathetic bystander, I believe each of us, and especially artists, can do something to help and support children and adults wounded through abuse, neglect and assault. This is a contemporary presentation of a timeless subject, a piece about recovery and awakening.

How will this project fit into Charles's larger body of work?

I am expanding on my photographing repertoire. In the past I have largely documented  performances and interpretations of scripts and dance for clients.  Now I am directing the scenes and allowing performers to depict aspects of the real-life aftermath of domestic violence.

The continuity of my artwork resides in the representation of human emotions through, lighting, clothing, gesture, and atmosphere.
My creative evolution entails applying a multi-dimensioned aesthetic, developed in a theatrical context, and now refocused on humanitarian issues and thereby raising wider public consciousness on domestic abuse.

What kind of impact will the project have?

Socially: It will be a place for like-minded individuals to connect outside their usual context. The photographs and associated text will broaden and deepen the available avenues of personal empathy for, and identification with, victims of domestic abuse and violence.

Economically: This project will generate and cross-fertilize new and existing sources of funding. It is an opportunity to foster an evermore-dynamic inter-dependency of compelling creative art, and compassionate social service.

How will this project act as a catalyst for Charles's artistic and professional growth?

Artistically this will serve as a catalyst, as a first, emphatic exploration of social justice themes, reflecting a growing commitment to public engagement, using the photography skills, techniques and craftsmanship honed over many years of education, training and experience.

My current project, is a jumping off place, a catalyst for future collaborative artistic projects concerned with pressing social issues, such as drug addiction, alcoholism, autism, mental illness, mental retardation, immigration, poverty, homelessness, etc.