People Really Do Change by Devon Cohen

People Really Do Change by  Devon Cohen
Medium: ink and watercolor 
Theme: Redemption and Resilience

The theme I chose to focus on is transformation, and the incredible strength it takes for people to choose change inside the punishment paradigm of prisons in which meaningful rehabilitation and change is made so difficult. I chose a quote by Kristin Edmundsen that for me really captures the reality of many lifers, who have so much to offer, including the invaluable wisdom of learning to change. The hands are in a gesture that to me communicated both internal resolve and strength, and also the stuckness of having one’s potential so clipped in prison. Surrounding the quote and hands are three kinds of flowers, each of which carry symbolic meaning from different cultures. Chamomile at the bottom symbolizes patience in adversity; protea symbolizes transformation; and black eyed susans at the top symbolize justice.

“People really do change. Most of us are no longer the women and men who walked through those gates so many years ago.  We will never forget our circumstances that brought us to prison and we certainly do not forget all the people we hurt by our choices. We can never take back what we have done; however we learn, grow, and change our behaviors and thoughts to become better individuals and more empathetic humans.  ” — Kristin Edmundsen

Devon’s Instagram page

[Image description: A colorful illustration on a white piece of paper. The illustration includes a lush floral border, open hands, and handwritten text in the center. The flowers at the top of the page are black-eyed susans, with long, thin yellow petals and medium brown centers. Large protea with pink petals and green leaves frame the left and right side. Delicate, longer-stemmed yellow and white chamomile flowers shoot up from the bottom of the page. A pair of open hands with light brown skin lay at the top of the chamomile flowers – about one-third from the bottom of the page. Their thumbs are interlocking. In the center of the page, the center of the frame, handwritten all-caps black text reads, “People really do change. Most of us are no longer the women and men who walked through those gates so many years ago. We will never forget our circumstances that brought us to prison and we certainly do not forget all the people we hurt by our choices. We can never take back what we have done; however we learn, grow, and change our behaviors and thoughts to become better individuals and more empathetic humans. – Kristin Edmundsen”]

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