Through the ArtWrite Collective, lead artist Alaura Seidl coordinated the Mirror Portraits Project, a temporary public art exhibition where teen and mid-career artists drew their self portraits and displayed narrative writing on public mirrors. This piece was installed as a BLINK project of the Madison Arts Commission on August 12th and 13th, 2015.
Self portraits were drawn in dry erase marker on Madison Public Library mirrors and were intended to offer a glimpse into the lives of our neighbors. For LGBTQIA+ folks, people of color, immigrants, and women, displacement is a persistent experience. Because our community has averted its collective gaze long enough, particular experiences and people are either made invisible or are subject to over exposure on a regular basis. In the mirrors project, participating artists had control of their image, their narrative, and the stories they chose to share with strangers. While more than a few artist-participants shared their experiences with housing insecurity or homelessness, this crew of artists came to the project with vastly different life stories and motivations for participating. How might seeing your own reflection in their work have implicated you in their stories?
Alaura Megan Seidl
One artist’s written contribution:
“When I stand next to you at the grocery store can you tell that I’m struggling?
Struggling with housing, struggling with depression, struggling with life.
When I sit next to you in class do you know that everyday I feel like a prisoner?
A prisoner to my everyday feelings, a prisoner to my society, a prisoner to my skin color, a prisoner to my past.
When I walk past you, can you see through me?
The tears building up behind my eyes, the stress on my heart, the restlessness inside?
When you look into my eyes, can you see my life?
The frustration, anger, and pain?
Can you see any of it?”