This multi-part editorial series was based on the “Rise and Thrive: A Lives in Landscape Exhibition” created by Milwaukee artist Brianna Joy Seipel. The project was produced in partnership with LOTUS Legal Clinic and the Untold Stories program. https://mkeind.com/riseandthrive
The mountains are calling and I do not want to go.
Layer by layer, word by word, the girl that I was is stripped away until all that remains is a thumping heart. Pieces of me litter the mountain I climb every time the hurt appears until, raw and naked, I am left begging: one more breath, one more heartbeat, just one more, to make it through the day. Until the day comes when the hurt will not go away. I am not me anymore. I am shattered by the remnants of a life that no longer fits. The hardest mountain I climb is the one within, created from the parts of me left behind that are broken and damaged.
The mountains are calling and I must go.
Layer by layer, word by word, the woman that I am puts herself together from the pieces of me I find upon the mountain: the scent of huckleberry and pine, the creak of the branches, the whistle of the wind, the blue of the water. I fill the mountain with the truths, the experiences, the beauty that come from my damaged and broken parts. For the women that came before me and the women that come after me, I write a guidebook to the mountain that saved my life: it takes time coming back to yourself. Let your voice guide you.
I am the mountain and the view is fucking divine.
Brianna Joy Seipel: Artist Response: I sat at my computer and nearly cried the evening that I first read Alissa’s statement. I too assign a deep personal meaning to the mountains of West Glacier. Her photos and writing resonated within me, and for a moment, I was back in that place. What is it about certain moments in our lives that we never forget — where the beauty of an experience is so intense that it lives within us and becomes part of our story? When we first met, Alissa said that this image represents layers; layers of the mountain, layers of growth, layers of life and the healing process. We discussed various compositions of her photo to best convey this idea. After a few oil sketches to practice the piece, I knew this painting had to be vertical. I particularly love how the length of the waterfall accentuates the mountain’s layers, cutting through its rocky surface with power, clarity, and light.
- Rise and Thrive: Brianna Joy Seipel creates landscapes of witness at the crossroads of art and allyship
- Rise and Thrive: A “Lives in Landscape” Series - Saguaro
- Rise and Thrive: A “Lives in Landscape” Series - Zenith
- Rise and Thrive: A “Lives in Landscape” Series - Huckleberry & Pine
- Rise and Thrive: A “Lives in Landscape” Series - Journeying Through Forgiveness
- Rise and Thrive: A “Lives in Landscape” Series - Summer of Empowerment
- Rise and Thrive: A “Lives in Landscape” Series - The Wake of Dreams