“The Power of Words”

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“I wrote down ‘The Power of Words’ in my sketchbook and I don’t know why.”

Mika Caldera, an art student at the University of Connecticut, presented this piece, “Empathy,” (pictured above) to me during a one minute artist-writer speed dating event that was held. She expressed her love for this piece in one minute and it caught me attention. A picture of this artwork does not give it enough justice to the way it felt in my hands and fanning out the progression of emotions along with the powerful quotes on the back of the pictures was more eye-opening than I could ever imagine.

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According to the creator of “Empathy,” the piece takes on the project of portraying human emotions through empathy. On one side, there is a black card that says the name of the piece on it and as it is fanned out, there are descriptions on what is going on in the photos printed after the emotion typed out. The progression of the emotions and photos go from horrifying to hopeful. The opposite of the black cards and pictures hold quotes that can only be read when fanned out. The quotes relate back to human interaction and quotes by people such as Maya Angelou and Marilyn Monroe are included.

After talking to Mika and getting to know her motives behind her artwork, I realized that we both recognized the power of words and visuals when the two went hand-in-hand. We talked about how the piece was meant to show that people do not normally empathize with others in the way that they feel towards certain situations; most of the time, people sympathize with others but until one can truly empathize, one doesn’t know how the other truly feels.

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I shared with her one of my favorite short stories, “Drown” by Junot Diaz, and thought to myself why I chose this work. There weren’t pictures that explained the story but the words were powerful enough. I mentioned the power of words and how Diaz conveyed a short story facing many controversial issues along with being Latino in the story. We came to the conclusion that we can’t explain the power of words: it’s a matter of interpretation.

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