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By: Cienna-Paige Slattery

This sculpture symbolizes resilience, growth, and overcoming racial barriers. This sculpture begins with a black background covered in child drawings. The drawings are colorful and youthful, while the black background evokes feelings of death, darkness, despair, and destruction. On top of this background is a mask painted light blue, and the child drawings extend from the black background to the surface of the mask. Paired with the mask, these drawings represent a person’s child-like innocence.

Sprouting from the eyes are black, tattered

weeds and branches. These weeds begin on the outside of the mask, stretch to the inside, and protrude through the eyes. A few weeds grow directly over the face. Like the background that represents the cruel, and corrupt surroundings in which children of color grow up, the weeds represent the cruel effects of racism on the individual. Racism is a seed planted by society that takes hold internally within an individual and mataicizes until it destroys their self-concept from the inside-out. The individual’s once innocent and pure view of the world is manipulated and destroyed. Further reflecting the effects of racism, as one is controlled by the social and systemic barriers imposed by racism, the weeds encapsulate and trap the mask.

Above these weeds are two butterflies. Next to these butterflies, are three white flowers. Two of these flowers have already bloomed, and stretch further above the weeds than the one still blossoming. These white flowers represent resilience and carry bits of that child-like innocence once held by the individual. They represent breaking free of the distorted perception of reality and self created by racism and learning to turn weeds into flowers. Likewise, the butterflies represent resilience but also the transformation one has undergone to unlearn what society has taught them about their own inferiority. While two of the flowers have bloomed, one is still blossoming to demonstrate that the struggle against racism is a never ending battle for both society and the individual.

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