Teen Voices: Artist Arieonna S.

Sometimes beautiful creations come out of less than beautiful times. This was the case with the gorgeous collection of photos created by Arieonna, 17. She explained that it wasn't "always easy to blend in and be accepted," and, as a result, she experienced several years of exhausting, difficult days of bullying. "The only thing that kept me going were these little abstract doodles I’d draw every time I felt like breaking down into tears during class."

Arieonna grew to love unstructured moments of creating and discovered that being an artist was empowering. These two photos she shared explore discomfort and pain and convey "society's intentional flaws in relation to humanity by critiquing the continuous appropriation of someone's culture and heritage."

Arieonna added that "with appropriation, often comes assimilation, when seeing your culture being taken from you with not much of a fight, it can seem easy to feel forced into the idea that it’s okay."

Arieonna likes to challenge stereotypes and expectations around race, critiquing thoughts that “black people are loud, thieves of materials, jobs, and even stealing someone's normal way of life” or the idea that white people symbolize "privilege and superiority." 

Chicago Public Library Teen Services loves to showcase teen work and teen voices on our website all the time.You can submit your photos, art, music, videos, etc. as you reflect about your natural environment, social-emotional environment or neighborhood environment and make a positive change this summer. Take action and tell us about it through Imagine Doing More! Also, stay tuned for the 2018-19 Teen Winter Challenge call for artists in December; any Chicago teen in high school (grades 9-12) may participate. (See the results of the 2017-18 Teen Winter Challenge.