Deborah Harrison

Still I Rise by Deborah Harrison
Still I Rise

This sculpture was inspired by a young woman who felt oppressed by the expectations of her peers and media images. Today the western cultural emphasis upon appearance puts enormous pressure upon young adults; through fashion, make-up and unrealistic body shape. But she strives to fully accept herself as she is and to reject this false perception. She endeavourers to embrace the freedom of being her true self. The sculpture title is taken from a poem by Maya Angelou who describes how her self worth rises above the hardships she and her race experienced in racial suppression. At the close of each verse she says 'But still I rise': Whatever she has been through she has her inner strength and faith to overcome every trial.

This piece was carved during the 31st Olympiad in 2016 which was also the 80th anniversary of Jesse Owens winning 4 gold medals at the games in Berlin. In 1936 Hitler lambasted America for having black athletes in the games and stormed out of the stadium when Jesse Owens won the 100m gold. On returning to America, even President Roosevelt did not shake Jesse's hand, as was the usual practice. He wasn't properly recognised until 1976. Jesse said “The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself - the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us - that's where it's at.” -Jesse Owens

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4(NASB)
Date: September 2016

Portland Stone
Dimensions: 53cm x 38cm x 25cm.