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When we are extreme stress, many of us reach for internal images that help us remember who we are. Personal symbols and metaphors make sense of our experiences, and help stabilize our inner world when it is knocked askew.


In Totems and Familiars, my collaborators and I discussed those images for as basis for portraits. I chose three categories from which they could choose the imagery that arose through troubled times:  


1. AN ANIMAL FAMILIAR, as in a witch’s familiar, a creature that provides secret knowledge of the super/natural world. An animal spirit guide, not a pet.  


2. A POWER OBJECT invested with imaginary magical powers, such as an heirloom, a tool, a garment, a toy, or significant gift. Some subjects chose elements of nature (i.e. water).  


3. A HERO whom my collaborator strongly identified with. A person that functioned as an alter ego and/or role model.

Note: Audio descriptions of the artwork are in progress and we hope to provide them soon.

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