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  • Jazzmin Imani

To Stifle the Imagination

Jazzmin Imani

Life-Size Colored Pencil Installation

Fabric, Chicken Wire, Other Multimedia Materials

“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 beautiful challenges. The balance between school work 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 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 imagination to her mom, who attempts to control her daughter’s imagination 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 treatment of their hopes and dreams. Black girls in this country are expected to develop a hard shell for their own protection, and are taught the ways of a woman early on because they need to work ten times harder than their white male 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 because 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. I am thankful to my parents for successfully balancing a nurturing of my creativity with valuable life lessons that I still remember today.

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