I am an illustrator and metals artist who makes things to remember, to honor struggles, and to move forward. You have to face things before you can move on from them. Generations of my family have been impacted by colonialism, and we grapple with its long arm every day. Decades of murder and abuse have left scars on our minds and bodies. For me, this manifested in an autoimmune disorder that affects every aspect of my life and has caused physical pain. If not for years of chronic stress and the burden from generational trauma, I would probably not have this illness. I Will Never Be Free is the manifestation of the pain and dark memories I will always carry. Sometimes I wish it hadn’t happened, but the dark days taught me something crucial: always drag yourself forward.
In growing, we need time to feel, process, and sift. It can feel like the soul is shattering. The figure in Great Fracture has been upended by trauma, but they have to keep climbing. Broken mirrors offer a visual depiction of how manipulation and abuse distorts self-perception in contrast with the truth: that we are whole and good, with the capacity to grow to the sky.
Raising ourselves from a broken state is no small feat; building and maintaining mental fortitude requires strength and discipline. Doing so yields resilience and strengthens neural pathways, which help us through the storm of life. Hence, Rise Above depicts a muscular woman. While tending our mental gardens is a challenging undertaking, it can give people the ability to know peace and remain calm in any time or place. The golden birds are memories of joy and contentedness. They cannot carry us, but remind us that life can be good again.