August 28, 2005

Art Exhibit for Donovan Durham

Donovan Durham is 44-years old and suffers from both paranoid schizophrenia and sickle cell anemia. But he hasn't let these things get in the way of his passion for art. Durham first discovered his passion as a child living in the south when his doctor told him drawing would be a great way to "express his feelings." Unfortunately, when Durham's paintings were put in a group showing and received a lot of acclaim, his parents forced him to stop drawing. They were very religious and thought that the drawings were offensive to God.

"Durham doesn't talk much about what happened to him in the decades that followed. Eight years ago Durham showed up alone in the Twin Cities and plugged himself into the local mental health system. The staff there encouraged him to join Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. Interact is a center that helps artists with disabilities develop their craft and make connections with the professional art world" (Combs, 2005).

Interact is place that helps artists that are disabled in some way, continue to cultivate their skills and eventually link them into the world of professional art where they can make their own name. Durham has certainly begun to do just that. Jennifer Schultz, an exhibition program director, happened upon Durham's work in a 1993 exhibit called 'Unsigned, Unsung, Whereabouts Unknown'. She tracked down Durham and discovered a man who had only grown in his artistic ability but still needs representation.

Durham's work was exhibited at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking and was titled "Donovan Durham's Fantastic Print Show." Durham's work is described as having a certain innocence and simplicity to it. He draws and paints the things that he loves and enjoys, and it shows in his work.

Original Source: Donovan Durham's 'Fantastic Print Show'. Minnesota Public Radio. August 10, 2005. By Marianne Combs.


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