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From earliest time people have believed they can protect themselves from harm through the power of art. We constantly shield ourselves from physical, mental, spiritual, and psychological danger. We cover ourselves with body paint. We create fetishes, sculpt gargoyles, and hang evil eyes. We surround ourselves with sacred imagery. We create numerous shields to make us safe in our daily lives including camouflage battle gear, space shuttle heat shields, sunscreens, deodorants, anti-missile shields, Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance policies, condoms, bullet-proof vests, and religious iconography and texts, (“The Lord is my strength and shield.”)

The inspiration for my current work comes from the carved and painted shields of Papua, New Guinea.

Painting is my shield.

— Mary Alice Copp, 2014