About the Entry:
Title: The Unlocking of My Mind
“The Unlocking of My Mind” is about everything the world around me now says is “wrong” but is ironically “right.” I spent most of my life believing that “right” things were “wrong.” I had an entire book, theology, church members, and mindset telling me that I had it “right,” and I needed to help others see my truth. The woman you see in “The Unlocking of My Mind” is me, and the lock symbolizes the unlocking of my mind: the new ability to see outside the box and comprehend the “truth” of others who live and believe differently from me. The lock also represents the oppression of others. We lock people up for the “wrong” reasons. We say, “Certain lives don’t matter. To be “right,” these lives must be lived and perceived differently.” We push people down for asserting their rights. We deny their truth to affirm ours. We go as far as to claim that we know the truth about how other people should live to get it “right.” There’s a little more symbolism in this artwork. I am of Greek origin. A hand-made wreath of tree leaves, twigs, fruits, and flowers is customary for Greek women, and I wear that wreath in this painting. My parents wore a wreath at their wedding. When I married, I wore my parent’s wreath. “Wreath” means “a thing bound around.” It can represent a restriction or “a place with certain limits.” I ask the question, “In what ways was I raised and taught to see restrictions and limits on myself and others?” With my culture comes attitudes, beliefs, benefits, and even some level of oppression in places where I did not fit in. I recently admitted to myself that I’m an outlier for my beliefs within my (now) “ex-church.” This happened after 18 years trying to fit my “square peg self” into a round hole. I spent 13 years as a Greek Orthodox girl in a Catholic school. You’d think the slight differences wouldn’t matter, but certain people made sure I felt them. One day I learned that I was a “Shiksa” for crushing on a Jewish boy. A group of high school boys placed bets on the chance that I would lose my virginity on our first date: grossly disturbing, demoralizing, and the result of being a “Non-Jew” in this circumstance. I’m not saying that I have experienced that same level of oppression that many others have. I have lived a life of mostly privilege, so I fear even drawing a faint parallel between myself and those who have been truly oppressed. However, there have been moments in my life when it’s been clear that I was lesser- just enough of a taste of oppression for my eyes to finally open. These moments have followed me for a lifetime and have fueled “The Unlocking of My Mind.”
About the Materials:
“The Unlocking of My Mind” is a mixed media work created on a wood panel primed with gesso. Acrylic paints, alcohol inks, alcohol markers, India ink, permanent marker, collage papers, and pastels were used to create this work. It measures 16 x 20 inches. There are three dimensional elements in this piece. The lock fixed in the woman’s head can be physically turned to “unlock my mind.” The lock is epoxied and screwed into place, so it would be safe for a gallery member to demonstrate how the lock turns for viewers. Some of the leaves, flowers, and buds in the head wreath are three dimensional elements.
About the Artist:
Alisa E. Clark is an avid acrylic painter, collage maker, and assemblage artist who enthusiastically explores ways to share her creative process while encouraging others to join her in the process of art making. Alisa communicates the transformative power of art through words and images and believes in releasing the spiritual power of painting to others. From within the creative flow, in-between moments are captured with a paintbrush and the artist’s voice. A better understanding of our “In-Betweens,” and ways art can give us hope no matter how hard our present places may seem, waits inside Alisa’s paintings.