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Marine Veteran Molds her Life in Clay

By Dylan Valic

Staff Writer

Senior art therapy major Maria Salazar exhibited her work, “Metamorphosis” in the Sculpture Gallery, from April 17 to 24. Guests admired 10 of Salazar’s original sculptures by Salazar.

Maria Salazar with an original sculpture

The theme of “Metamorphosis” is the potential for post-traumatic growth. “Through art you use your pain to create beauty,” Salazar said. “Life sometimes is not easy and you have moments where you have traumatic experiences, but I feel like you can overcome that, learn from it, and become something new. Almost like a metamorphosis.”

Salazar is a Marine Corp veteran and bases much of her artwork on her own past experiences. “I’ve had a lot of life changing experiences in my life. I always try do, like, a self discovery and exploration. I try to understand how it affected me and what came of it. I am always using new experiences in my life to create my art.”

Salazar became interested in sculpting while attending a veterans workshop at the ceramics studio on the far edge of campus. This was the first time she ever made anything out of clay, but it was far from the last. “Because of that I took ceramics the next semester. Once I found it I just fell into it, I loved it, I’m addicted to it now.”

Showing her exhibit made Salazar feel very happy, but also very exposed. “It was a little bit overwhelming. I felt exposed because this was very personal art, but at the same time I felt very validated. It kind of came full circle, I really tried to incorporate everything I learned from my whole time here at LIU, from my very first foundations class to my last semester.”

The exhibit’s reception brought together many of Salazar’s friends, old and new, and other members of the community. “It was awesome to see all the support and to have all my different communities come together. I had a lot of military people here yesterday, people from the ceramics studio, it was a whole very collective crew that combined here last night, and I was so taken back by it,” she said.

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