Recent research on DNA reveals that human beings have an extremely varied genetic inheritance; even in some very isolated populations, the genetic variation is remarkable. A person from Haiti can have DNA that is shared with people from France, Tunisia, Poland, Vietnam and Argentina. This insight led me to think that each one of us carries a good part of the world’s genetic diversity. In this way, our fingerprint, which identifies us as unique individuals, could be visualized as a symbol of this diversity.
In most rural places, being young or a woman usually puts you at a disadvantage in terms of education and economic opportunities. Rural youth face these specific challenges. They are often under-employed or employed in low productivity sectors. This portrait imagines how technology and education can penetrate and improve the world’s most forgotten places. It’s a vision of a world where human capital is complemented and most people from rural areas won’t need to migrate to the city in search of a better life.
In theory, organizations must treat everyone equally when recruiting; but it is still the case that hidden, sometimes even unconscious, stereotypes heavily influence who we hire. This tends to make organizations and teams homogenous — and lacking the huge benefits of diverse perspectives.
The boy in this picture is my own and he is disabled. Some years ago he played drums in a musical group that consists of disabled children. They performed at concerts, festivals and received many prizes. Every disabled child has hopes, dreams, desires and feelings. Every disabled child has abilities, either explicit or hidden. Every disabled child is able to love and they want to be loved and to be understood and supported.
I wanted to portray an unlikely hero helping an older individual cross a city street. The piece is made up of individual assets that were sketched, inked and scanned digitally to be placed and colored together.
Shirley Chisholm shattered a glass ceiling as the first African-American woman elected to Congress. She fought tirelessly for the Equal Rights Amendment, which guarantees equal rights to all Americans regardless of their gender. To me, Shirley Chisholm embodies diversity and inclusion because she gave a voice to many Americans whose needs went unheard by our government because of their race or sex. In my painting, I portrayed Shirley as a colorful beacon of hope whose legacy will be passed down for generations to come.
An invisible illness is a disability that isn’t immediately apparent. These include such chronic illnesses as diabetes, sleep disorders, chronic pain, and visual and auditory impairments. Through my piece, I wanted to communicate the mental stress that having an invisible illness can put on someone, due to the many ignorant responses that they receive. I’ve lived my whole life with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (an invisible chronic pain disorder) and have been told, “It’s all in your head!” or “You’re lucky! I wish I had a handicapped parking tag,” more times than I can count. Because I look “normal,” I get mean looks when I step out of my car, park in a handicapped spot, or stand up from my wheelchair. Although it may take time, I believe that we need to educate ourselves about invisible illnesses and come together to support those that may be affected in our community and around the world.
I draw the subjects of my paintings freely and loosely; I let my feelings guide me while I add color, without any commitment to reality. My figures have no color, genre or face. What is important is their presence and energy. I painted these people using only the feet as symbols of our external differences. These distinctions may or may not represent what others think they do.
This piece represents the unconditional love that parents and caregivers give to an autistic person who could be a child or an adult. The blue baby swan represents not only the blue color symbolizing autism, but also celebrates uniqueness and the acceptance of differences. As the mom of an autistic child, I painted this with my heart. I am happy to transmit my own feelings of unconditional love and to share the important message of autism awareness with others. In this particular piece, I painted the surroundings in monochromatic values to distinguish the baby swan as the center of attention. The different textures, accomplished by the use of a palette knife, created dimension and a sense of movement. The heavy strokes of my palette knife techniques stand in contrast to the lightness of the white swan’s feathers.
My painting illustrates a young Black girl wearing the iconic “Mary Jane” shoes with bobby socks. From 1904 to the present, these shoes have been traditionally advertised as dress shoes for little white girls. The painting’s subliminal message is: “My shoes and socks are like yours and I am like you.” Having a Black child wearing the shoes and socks makes her a universal symbol representing all young girls and the challenges they face from iconic commercial stereotypes created by the white-dominated advertising world. Manufacturers have only recently begun to acknowledge their role in perpetuating institutionalized racism in advertising. At first glance, “Stand in My Shoes” may seem to be just a realistic painting. But take a second glance and consider who is standing in them.