Deborah Willis

BirthplacePhiladelphia, PA
CitizenshipUnited States
Cultural HeritageAfrican-American
Light Work RelationshipArtist-in-Residence, 1990
Main Gallery, 2003 (Group Exhibition - Embracing Eatonville)
Fine Print Program, 2004
Robert B. Menschel Gallery, 2016 – 2017 (Place: Selections from the Light Work Collection)




Sunday afternoons were always special in my young adult life. Visits to family and my parents friends were commonplace. One Sunday in 1989 Crocker came to visit my father at our family home in North Philly. Crocker had moved out of the neighborhood years ago; he moved to the affluent Mount Airy. He talked with my father at great length of their childhood and the old neighborhood. I listened and started photographing them, he seemed to have missed their special talks. It also was an eerie feeling watching the two of them talk -- we never knew that would have been their last conversation. Crocker died within months of that visit and daddy died the next year. They laughed about the color of their suits; proudly bragged about their eating habits; reminisced about their career choices. As they recalled their memories, I began to think about what I recalled about their relationship. They were best friends from the age of twelve to the age of sixty-seven.

Their spiritual connection remained throughout, this Senegalese printed fabric was used because one of their last trips together was to Dakar.

Deborah Willis-Kennedy (c)1994