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freedom from shame- pops peterson- color canvas portrays a sports hero, a hockey player with left arm ending at the elbow, in his moment of glory. After winning big at a hockey match, a teammate pours champagne over his head in celebration.

“Freedom From Shame”

Artist: Pops Peterson

Description: 15.5” x 23.75” canvas by artist Pops Peterson, “Freedom from Shame,” portrays a sports hero, a hockey player with left arm ending at the elbow, in his moment of glory. After winning big at a hockey match, a teammate pours champagne over his head in celebration.

Artist Statement: “Freedom from Shame” was an intriguing title suggested to me by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) for the body of work I am creating as their Artist in Residence. A suitable visual concept eluded me, however, until one evening, at a dinner party, I met Dylan Bader. Dylan was young, tall and ruggedly handsome, unpretentious and remarkably self-assured. Although he was wearing a tank top, it took a moment before I noticed that his right arm ended at the elbow. Yet he was utterly unselfconscious about it. And when Dylan told me he was trying out for a professional hockey team I knew my search for a concept had ended. And I had found my star. Having once been disabled myself due to an accident, paralyzed and using a wheelchair at the age of ten, I have a deep personal connection to the disability community. The massive physical scars I bear on my legs made for an adolescence fraught with insecurities. Dylan could never hide what makes him different. Yet his bearing and his outlook are completely free of bitterness or shame. If anything, Dylan radiates love and power as well as humility. I was profoundly moved by his courage and strength. In an instant, young Dylan Bader became a hero in my eyes, and his example continues to boost my spirit. In my canvas, “Freedom from Shame,” I set out to portray Dylan as a sports hero in his moment of glory. After winning big at a hockey match, a teammate pours champagne over his head in celebration. The image metaphorically declares that every day of his life Dylan is a true hero. I intend for this image to symbolize the heroism in each and every individual who triumphs daily with a mental or physical disability.

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