Copy of Izzy, first-responder

Izzy, first-responder

The red background of this painting signifies warmth and love, demonstrating the greater compassion we need in response to the stigma of addiction. Much of the background remains blank to show the loneliness and isolation of this stigma. The faces growing out of each tree branch represent my loved ones, my three cousins and my brother, at times when they were younger, before they had been impacted by addiction. In many cases, it was in their youth, that they first began to struggle with addiction. In this way, their innocence was robbed from them. My cousins lived with addiction for many years, thanks to harm reduction, but unfortunately lost their lives. The hearts growing out of the branches below convey the love and compassion I have for them and for all who are affected by addiction. It is important to me to convey that this a bad disease, but the people who are affected are not bad people. The roots of the tree are what give it strength, nourishment and fertilization. They branch out across borders and divisions, showing the ways that we must come together as a community to find solutions to systemic problems, collaborating to overcome fear and the gaps that exist in our communities. Alongside the trunk of the tree is an inspirational quote that invites us to listen to our hearts and intuition, trusting that we will find the hope of faith and healing within.