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
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