||My piece explores the human tendency to hide our true selves away. I sculpted the heart to represent our true, inner emotions, raw and untouched. The cage surrounding the heart is symbolic of the barriers we set up for ourselves. We hope that these barriers will keep our souls safe and protected, but more often, what they actually end up doing is pushing others away and making it harder for us to make connections and develop relationships. The tiny house I sculpted on the heart is representative of our “comfort zones” and the idea that because we feel secure and protected behind our bars, it is hard for us to open up to others and give away the key that is essential to unlock our true feelings. I played with the birdcage as a tool to compare the heart to a bird, a living, breathing, manifestation of the bounds of freedom. Just as the bird cannot fly when it is caged, the heart cannot truly love until it is set free.