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To Stifle the Imagination

Colored Pencil Installation

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

--Pablo Picasso


A young artist faces so many unique challenges; the balance between academics and art, the choice between an art college or other university, the constant internal battle against an art career because so many people tell you it’s not a plausible way of life, and so much more that can be difficult to put into words. And yet, these questions that we ask ourselves help us to grow as not only artists, but as people.


My piece, To Stifle the Imagination, depicts a mother and daughter. The heart shown on the outside of the young girl’s body is representative of her creativity and imagination as well as all of the characteristics that allow her to be young and joyful. The string connects her heart to her mom, who attempts to help her daughter to mature by encouraging her to grow up. Unknowingly, this also hinders the daughter’s imagination, and the expectations placed upon her cause her to lose her joy. For children, and young black girls especially, there is often an accelerated sense of growth that the child feels based on their parents’ and others’ treatment of their hopes and dreams. Black girls in this country are often expected to develop a hard shell for their own protection, and they are taught the ways of a woman early on because they need to work ten times harder than their white male and female counterparts. This sentiment often comes from those that are closest, such as parents and other relatives. This is not a criticism of modern parenting whatsoever, but rather a challenge to adults to practice patience more often in their everyday lives. I have been lucky enough to have parents that have successfully balanced a nurturing of my creativity with valuable life lessons that still guide me today, and I am extremely thankful for that. A single interaction with a child can either chip away at their creative spirit or inspire the same artistry that drives me to create everyday.

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