Pam Douglas is a Los Angeles mixed-media artist working in two and three-dimensions. For the past seven years, her art has been about refugees because people forced to flee violence and climate change encapsulate the human adventure and the value of individual lives. She is also motivated by her own family’s stories of survival.
Her decades-long path has led through drawing, painting, filmmaking, sculpture, installation, a graphic novel, and experimentation with re-purposed materials. Though the works span mediums and forms, her art is unified by dedication to social justice.
She has been featured in many exhibitions including the California African American Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Art Show at the Convention Center, the USC Fisher Museum, The Next Big Thing, Art Share LA, Tarfest and CA 101. Her awards include grants from The Puffin Foundation, Mozaik Philanthropy, Vibrant Cities, and Repaint History.
Her Sanctuary project that debuted in a 4000 sq. ft. solo in 2021 incorporates sculptures, drawings, paintings, and assemblages. In Part One figures walked to safety in wall-hung panels. In Part Two she constructed 3-dimensional rafts that escaped across a gallery floor. Part Three were survivors in handmade tents.
In 2021, art critic Genie Davis reviewed “Sanctuary” in “Art and Cake”: “This is a passion project for the artist, and it is a fierce, galvanizing, heartbreaking one … an awe-inspiring experience.”
Then, at the close of Sanctuary, she expanded to an artbook/ graphic novel, “Bearing Witness,” that tells the stories of refugee families through artwork. It is now with a literary agent.
Her Bearing Witness paintings inspired by the book explore the interplay of figurative imagery with what lies beneath. Painted silks become an abstract environment that invites the imagination into an unknowable space. The figures on transparent plexiglass are placed over the silk, creating a layered dimension. Similarly, she re-purposed scraps of plastic. As with the silk, the figures in acrylic on plexiglass create two-layered works that are more than the sum of their parts.
In 2023 she created life-size “Witness” sculptures. The 12 Witnesses echo 12 in a jury, 12 apostles, and the passage of time. Materials include burlap, clay, modeling paste, acrylic, wood, twine, found objects, plant parts. Their eyes made of mirrors cue the visitor to witness themselves; that is, to become a participant attesting to history.
She says, “Now more than ever, we need a space for shared humanity.”