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    ARTIST STATEMENT:  Resilience is defined as “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful after something bad happens.” Our culture has become increasingly interested in why some people appear more resilient than others.  The research shows that although there are protective factors which foster resilience, we all have the ability to build more resilience in each of our lives.  These stories teach us what has helped these women.
     This display is a 20-year follow-up to a photo and literary exhibition from the mid-1990s entitled RESILIENT SOULS: Young Women’s Portraits and Words.  At that time, I had the honor of working with young women from various backgrounds who had overcome personal challenges in their lives.  They were brave and generous by writing and sharing their stories as we worked together to create beautiful portraits to represent their perseverance in the hope of encouraging others.  The original exhibit explored issues such as disabilities, mental health, unhealthy relationships, illness, adoption, pregnancy, immigration, eating disorders, school problems, violence and grief.   Two decades later, we revisit these women’s continued journeys, including their low points, their triumphs and their growth, as they approach middle age.   
     This project provided participants an opportunity for personal development through writing and storytelling to reflect upon their histories. The photographs of their external selves provide concrete symbols which represent their inner power.
     THE RESILIENT SOULS PROJECT has universal appeal as we are all faced with difficulties in this life. It inspires all of us to consider our resilience while finding beauty and meaning in our own imperfect lives.

     ~ Cathy Lander-Goldberg, photographer and curator
     THE RESILIENT SOULS PROJECT is dedicated to angels Mariel “Cindy” Reyes and Lynn Chamberlain who touched so many in their short lives and showed true resilience, strength and courage. 
     Deep gratitude goes out to all of the past and current participants and their families for their contributions and belief in this project.   Special thanks to Kathryn Adamchick, arts consultant, who has enthusiastically guided me in this exhibition for over two decades.

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