End Death by Incarceration by Anya Blakeley

The image resembles the shape of a human heart. From the top of the image, a tree grows. Its branches are spindly, but new growth forms. This represents the challenges Women Lifers face in regards to education and healing. Often victims of childhood sexual and/or physical and emotional abuse, untreated mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence, women commit crimes of passion, kill their abuser or accompany them while a murder is committed. Given psychological, educational and emotional support, women can be rehabilitated. On the right side, the pulmonary veins and artery. They are responsible for carrying the blood to the heart from the lungs and carrying blood from the heart to the lungs. This brings to mind at the time of this painting the words, “I can’t breathe”, spoken by many of those who have died before them by those who have been sworn to protect, serve, choke or care for them. The lower vein represents a diamond, while the two above it (one a vein and the other an artery) represent bullets. A dark institutional building and a thumb complete the symbolism on the right side. The red symbolizes the uterus or womb that carries the fetus until mature enough to be born. The veins reaching along the walls of the heart symbolize the unborn children or stunted motherhood of imprisoned women. A small eye can be seen near the top of the heart below the tree branches in the dark. This is the eye of the ancestor, recording its history.

Medium: Acrylic, collage, graphite and watercolor. 19” x 24”

[Image description: The image resembles a depiction of an anatomical heart. Red veins move throughout the heart along with abstract shapes of various colors including blue, white, grey and a few instances of yellow. A small tree has its roots in the heart, and grows out the top with small green leaves.]

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