Still I Rise

Acrylic/Mixed Media on canvas
24”x 30 x 2”
Original $3,800

In “Still I Rise” you see an African male slave taken out of his homeland, beaten raw, treated with unspeakable acts of humanity’s insanity. Still he stands strong for his culture in the Tree of Life rooted deep into Mother Earth. Below in his homeland, memories of him and his mother together beating the drum in ceremony calling his spirit home as she dances over the sun. Healing blue waters flow, cooling the red-hot pain of the whip and smoldering the burning cross of rage. He holds an African black eagle, resuscitating and bringing him back to life with love as the phoenix rises from the ashes. This is a painting that depicts the courage and strength of persevering through the darkest of darkness into the light despite it all...  Bringing it back to Love... Love is stronger than fear. 

My painting “Still I Rise” was in part inspired of my own connection to Black African roots and by Maya Angelou’s poem (below). 

Still I Rise  

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou


Life can be so hard with many painful lessons; sometimes it feels as though it will never end. For a time there is nothing more you can do than to breath and know “this too shall pass.” In the dark tunnel of suffering acknowledge others who have carried on through unimaginable torment. Brave ones rise from the ashes like the phoenix to find that the gift of Perseverance is freedom. Physical, emotional or spiritual it’s freedom you come to know through Perseverance. Know that with every thought, word, feeling and action you are either adding to your suffering or nurturing with a healing touch. You are sharing in the light of the world or contributing to the shadow. Be mindful of this truth and persevere in the monitoring of your thoughts and focus your attention moment by moment.

Your prayers, intentions, surrendering and trusting in the Divine Will of Creator does mater. Take steps to change what needs to change, clear your plate of that, which does not serve you and create for yourself a higher way of being. Release, forgive, embrace all of you, and never give up, Persevere. 

When you chose the medicine card of Perseverance, take notice when you walk on the sidewalk and see a tender blade of grass poking through a crack in the cement, this is determination “this” is the power of life. This is God, the sun, the love light giving life, “this” is you shining through despite circumstances.