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Don’t Focus On A Past You Can’t Fix

Maura Martin '13 art gradTo hear these words from a senior in college who has endured a mostly tumultuous life to this point, is quite telling. To have gained this level of awareness and consciously decided to live her life by this motto, is quite striking for a young woman her age.

Maura Martin, who graduated Stetson University May 11, with a bachelor’s degree in Art, a minor in Art History with a decision to stay another year to acquire a second major in Digital Arts, endured a life with a drug addictive mother and bi-polar father.

Although raised from the age of two primarily by her grandmother when her mother became incapacitated from cocaine, she did move back and forth between her maternal influences at various times in her life when her mother was temporarily well.

During fifth and sixth grade, she began to rebuild a good relationship with her mother, who then remarried, only to see it fall apart when her new stepfather physically abused her mother and reintroduced her to drugs.

Realizing she was considerably depressed, it was during a wonderful vacation to Captiva Island, Fla. with her grandparents that her grandmother decided that Maura needed to live with her again.

An artist from early in life, it was at Stetson University that Maura’s love for art came alive. When deciding the focus of her senior thesis, she struggled with whether to bring out her life experiences in her work.

Once she had studied the art of others and the impetus for their own work, she became more confident that she also could allow herself to express her childhood pain. While the research of combing through hundreds of family pictures over three generations did cause her sorrow at times, she felt it has helped free her of so much of the sting she endured over all these years.

Martin’s work was exhibited at Stetson University’s Hand Art Center to rave reviews. Uniquely using door and picture frames in vintage style, her choice to transpose her picture at age three on top of her mother’s picture at age three, is the centerpiece of her work. Strikingly similar, it can also be somewhat haunting.

On the side of this display is a child’s broken bed with pictures flowing from under the springs to the floor adding a sense of intrigue to the years of history which contributed to this exhibit.

Martin credits her grandmother for her encouragement, love and support. She is also grateful for the influence of her professors at Stetson. She looks forward to a long career in the art world with her next project focused on her father’s illness.

by Mary M. McCambridge