They Can’t Take Everything by Chontelle Shirk
Medium: Colorpencil, pen, pencil
Size: 8.5″ X 11″
Artist statement: Art has always been a way for me to process emotions and abuse associated with my past. Since being incarcerated, I have learned that I may use drawing and writing to have a voice in the community. Through this journey of learning myself and the world around me, art has been a positive factor in my developing a voice. Ibhave been able to gain insight and process situations in a more beneficial way with the use of creative outlets. Discovering that art can be used as a tool not only to promote my own healing, but also as an advocate to inspire change in this world has made me feel excitement and enthusiasm. My drawings represent my entry into the world of incarceration, and the most important aspects of freedom to me, which are the freedom of thought and peace of mind. I can be locked behind walls of stone, steel, and razor wire, but my mind will always be free.
Image description: A pencil and ink drawing encompassed in a maroon/burgundy frame. Within the frame there is a sketched outline of a profile of the left side of a person in the middle of the picture from their head to their shoulders, taking up about 75% of the space. Outside of the profile outline is a gray and white wall extending from the bottom of the picture to about ¾ of the way up. At the top of the wall is barbed wire. There are four large black drops of water falling from the top of the picture to the top of the barbed wire, two on either side of the profile outline. Within the profile outline is a purple, orange and white sunset that goes from the head to the middle of the mouth where it meets water that extends to the top of the chin. In the sunset, there is a moon in the middle at about the forehead level. Below the water is sand that extends to the neck. From the neck down, the sunset scene dissipates into a dark gray and black brick and a deep red and maroon scene that has what appear to be body parts protruding from the ground. Standing in that ground in the middle of the picture is a deep red and burgundy person faced towards the sunset. Their head reaches where the sunset begins and meets the water. The person’s hands appear to be at their sides or in their pockets. Their feet appear to be slightly sinking into the ground that they stand in.