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A word from the artist

What is The Awakenings Project all about anyway?

The Awakenings Project is the artistic concept of Marissa Southards, based in St. Louis, MO. This project began in October 2016 in with a single image posted to social media.  What began as a single affirmation photo has now grown to nearly 400 participants, several volumes of work, speaking engagements and collaborations - all with the message of pure authenticity.

The goal of the project is the empowerment of women, girls, women-identifying, and non-binary folx, through authenticity, body positive affirmation, and self-actualization.  Participants are asked to think of a word that best describes them and from that word, the participants are challenged to embody its power through its placement on the body and the subsequent photo.

Participants often describe this experience as affirming, healing, and providing a visibility to self. The resulting process has provided a community of empowerment among its participants, and created the mantra of the project: "Society does not define us, we define ourselves. "

No one knows us better then we know ourselves. While the project provides a space for authentic definition of self, it has also provided a view on the intersections of our experiences and how we can uplift those that are commonly shunned or oppressed by a male-dominated society that hasn't always worked in their best interest.

The Awakenings Project has just concluded its fourth cycle of photographs and will begins its fifth in March 2019.