The Sanctuaries | Washington, DC

Collective Artists

Dejah Greene

Photograph: Darryl Felton

Photograph: Darryl Felton

Artist Statement

As a woman with a racing mind and vivid imagination, I needed a way to express the beauty I saw around me. As a black woman who suffers from mental illness, I also needed a way to express the feelings I couldn’t form into words. Photography was my voice. I learned with a 35mm Canon film camera and manually developed my own photographs. Now, I shoot digital as well.

The themes in my photography range from showing the beauty in simplicity to showing different kinds of beauty in blackness. I photograph black women to show that they are more than what the mainstream media portrays them to be. I explore the personalities of different women with my camera and I give them a way to show how they want to be portrayed unapologetically. Blackness comes in many different forms and my goal is to portray them in a positive light.

Other themes in my work depict the struggles and complexities of mental illness. Sometimes it is difficult to put feelings into words, so other mediums are needed. Utilizing photography as a tool of communication and personal expression has allowed me to portray the good, the bad, and the ugly of struggling with mental illness.

Throughout my work, I try to express feelings that may be too abstract to say in words. I enjoy documenting all walks life through my lens.


Portrait of Steven

Portrait of Steven

As I Am Project: Dziko

As I Am Project: Dziko

Portrait of Diamon

Portrait of Diamon

Portrait of Shahem

Portrait of Shahem

As I Am Project: Corinne

As I Am Project: Corinne

As I Am Project: Nandi

As I Am Project: Nandi


The Sanctuaries