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The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Freedom is contextual. It is perceived and exercised differently depending on who you are and the societal and environmental structures within which you live. My notion of freedom, as a privileged person in a capitalist culture is far different from that of a migrant mother at the border, a young Black man going for a run, a school girl under Taliban rule, or even a river that is used as an industrial dumping ground.  

Freedom is not a static state, permanent once won; rather it is a process – a precious goal that many before us have fought and died for and people continue to do so today. Freedom is a struggle that we are all called upon to engage in, not only for ourselves, but for everyone.  We are not truly free until all are free.

The For Freedoms project puts forth new notions of freedom: Awakening, Listening, Healing and Justice, all of which describe a process rather than a state of being.  The poster I designed for this project is a graphic representation of the need to speak and be heard in order for freedom to grow.  Stories sow the seeds of change.


Liz Chalfin is a printmaker with a commitment to environmentally sustainable practices.   Her work is informed by her travels near and far and conveys her interest in interpersonal relationships, memory and time.   Her prints and artist’s books are in numerous museum and library collections including the New York Public Library, the Boston Public Library, the Art Museum at Bowdoin College, Smith College Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park, The Hood Museum, The University of the Arts, Yale University, the University of Arkansas, Wheaton College Permanent Collection, Hampshire College Special Collections and the University of Michigan Art Library.  She has been an artist in residence at Mass MOCA (USA), Artist Proof Studio (South Africa), The Vermont Studio Center (USA), Bowdoin College (USA), Trefegwlys Print Studio (Wales), Loomis Chaffee School (USA). 

Chalfin is founding director of Zea Mays Printmaking, one of the first private, environmentally focused printmaking studios in the USA.  Chalfin is represented by Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts, Brattleboro, VT and the Zea Mays Printmaking Flat File Project.  See more of her work at


Stories Sow the Seeds of Change (Las historias siembran las semillas de cambio); aguafuerte, impresión tipográfica, litografía, grabado fotopolímero, grafito y cera de abeja sobre papel; 2020.
La libertad se determina por el contexto. Cómo se percibe y se practica depende de quién se es, de la sociedad y las estructuras ambientales que se habitan. La noción de libertad que tengo, como persona privilegiada, es muy distinta de la que tiene una madre migrante en la frontera, un joven negro cuando sale a correr, una estudiante bajo el régimen talibán e, incluso, un río usado como vertedero industrial.
La libertad no es un estado fijo, ni se hace permanente al lograrla. Es más bien un proceso, una meta preciosa por la que muchos antes que nosotros han batallado y muerto y por el que la gente sigue luchando hoy. La libertad es una búsqueda que exige los esfuerzos de todos, no solamente para el bien propio, sino también de los demás. No somos verdaderamente libres hasta que todas las personas lo sean.
For Freedoms expone nuevas interpretaciones sobre la libertad: despertar, escuchar, sanar y buscar justicia. Procesos en vez de estados. El póster diseñado para este proyecto es una representación gráfica de la necesidad de hablar y ser escuchado para que crezca la libertad. Las historias siembran las semillas del cambio.

Liz Chalfin's poster, "Stories Sow The Seeds of Change". A mixed media collage of text and images. In the center, brown bold text reads, "STORIES SOW THE SEEDS OF CHANGE". Behind is a block of black and white text of the words, "AWAKENING.HEALING.JUSTICE.LISTENING." repeating over and over. On the left and right, two people's mouths are open as if yelling or speaking. Their silhouettes are mirrored in blue in the center of the poster, over the text.

Stories Sow The Seeds of Change, 2020
Mixed media

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