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I Am Loved

by: Brian Johnson & Mont Willis, Salt Lake City, Utah

No flame SHINES without a spark to ignite it.

quote by: Bess G., 8th Grade, Bexley Middle School - Bexley. Ohio
teacher: Steven Podlasiak

Artist Statement

“I Am Loved” is the image of my little brother who has Down syndrome. He has taught our family so much about accepting everyone unconditionally regardless of their differences. He has faced many obstacles in life, including finger-pointing because he looks and speaks differently. When he was born we were told he would be lucky to live to be a teenager. Despite that prognosis we have been blessed to have him in our lives for 42 years. He now lives in Boston with my dear sister and her husband and has a life filled with love and acceptance.

The figures framing the image portray the many diverse people who have embraced my brother in his lifetime. The leaf scrolls represent the growth he continues to make because he has been embraced and loved for his differences. The quote by Clay Aiken rang so true to me – all children need to be included in a warm and accepting world regardless of their limitations.

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