I loved art because I didn’t like to talk. I didn’t know how to express myself through words. Art was an escape; I could express myself and it was easier for me to do that than to try communicating with words.
As a child, Anaisha Mauricio, ’24, always gravitated toward art. The reason, as she sees it? It’s because that’s how she was best able to communicate.
“I loved art because I didn’t like to talk,” she said. “I didn’t know how to express myself through words. Art was an escape; I could express myself and it was easier for me to do that than to try communicating with words.”
Anaisha knew she wanted to pursue a career in art as she grew older but found limited options in terms of a pathway in her native Santo Antão, Cape Verde.
“On my island there are not a lot of resources for people to study art, I was encouraged to choose something else,” she said. “But art was the only thing I wanted to do.”
Instead of giving up, Anaisha looked outward to find schools that offered an art program, and that’s when she discovered Bridgewater State University.
She applied to BSU, was accepted, and then made the decision to move to the United States to follow her dream of becoming a working artist.
As a freshman taking Professor Sarah Washburn’s 2D class, Anaisha’s efforts were quickly noticed.
“She stood out in class with her talent,” Washburn said. “She has a natural ability in art, and I saw that within her the first week of class.”
The following semester, Anisha continued to study with Washburn in her Drawing 1 class, where her skills continued to flourish.
“Anaisha is the strong silent type when it comes to her art practice,” Washburn said. “She is truly an artist inside and out.”
When Washburn learned that BSU Associate Director of Collections and Exhibitions Jay Block was looking to commission a student artist to create a new bear statue on campus, she immediately thought of Anaisha and encouraged the young artist to create a proposal and apply.
Throughout campus there are many colorful bear statues on display, the bear being BSU’s mascot.
“Public art commissions are rare for students, so I knew this would be a good opportunity for her to learn how to engage in this type of practice,” Washburn said.
Hesitant at first, Anaisha wasn’t sure if she should apply, but knew there was a message she wanted to share with the BSU community and, just like she did as a child, wanted to use art to express herself.
She pitched the idea of covering the bear in green and blue hues, with an oh-so-subtle message about deforestation and how pollution affects bears in nature around the world.
“Climate change and pollution is something I often think about, it really overwhelms me,” she said.
Anaisha’s finished bear was installed this semester and sits in front of the John J. Kelly Gymnasium, at 34 Park Ave.
She hopes when people pass by the intended message connects.
The benefit of having this opportunity so early in her career isn’t lost on the emerging artist.
“I feel very proud, I never thought I could do something like this as a college student,” she said.
Beyond BSU, Anaisha hopes to return to Cape Verde to bring art back to her homeland, to create opportunities for those, like her, who have a passion for art.
“I want to make sure that those who want to, can have a proper career in art, I want to go home and make that happen,” she said.
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