Elvira Bertrand (they/them) is currently in their final year to obtain a Master’s of Arts in Art Therapy from the Lewis & Clark Art Therapy Graduate program. They have experience working with adults with various disabilities, adolescents with substance use disorders, and adults in custody. Currently interning at a maximum security jail, Elvira gives space and an opportunity for adults in custody to receive care they deserve or a moment to decompress using art. Elvira’s artwork often focuses on a social justice topic and they create pieces to start conversations about those topics. After graduation, Elvira hopes to continue this work and start Art Therapy programs within prisons bringing in a person-centered and identity building lens.
Wood, acrylic paint, chalk, charcoal, ink
This piece focuses on the language used by employees within the incarceration system discussing adults in custody. The piece does not reflect my identity but rather my experience with working with this population and the system surrounding this population. The color of the ‘cell’ is the color of the cells within the jail I’m interning at currently and collected the quotes within it. It’s a reflection of language use and how humanity is lost when a system is built in fear. People are stuck within their cells everyday and only exit for 30 minutes to 4 hours a day but often it’s the shorter amount of time. Employees begin to forget how much this can impact a person and at times I wonder if the deputies I’m talking with remember our conversation is about people and not another number being moved. This piece is here to highlight the harmful dialogue that happens when working and being in a space that is highly traumatic with people who are traumatized as well.