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Leslie Elsasser - Introduction
Christian Cortes

Crimi Arrieta - Relative of US Army Veteran
Patricia Colbert - US Army
Gail Cross - US Air Force
Dr. Charlie Ferrer - US Army
Janine Hargrett - US Army
Valerie Larson - US Air Force
Kevin Lipton - US Army
Dolores Matteo - US Army
Karidad Ramis-Hartman - US Army
Roger St. Julian - US Army
Monika Sutton - Spouse of US Army Veteran
Viana L.M. Tavares-Fischer - US Army

Manfredo Bobadilla - US Army
Agustin Collazo Jr. - US Marine Corps / US Navy
Amanda Dodd - US Army
Evan Fountain - US Air Force
Derek Hopkins - US Air Force
Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps
Alicia Morales - US Army
Chris Smith - Spouse of US Army Veteran
Kimberlee Nicole Smith - US Army
RaeAnne Swanson - US Air Force



Alicia Morales, Reflections, 2023.

Alicia Morales, Reflections, 2023.



 Throughout my life people have often said that I look exactly like my mom. But what does it really mean to resemble someone, share blood ties, and still be your own person? 

I loved and respected my mother, and we were very close. We have the same smile and a loud laugh, but our personalities differed. I’m open, smart, and analytical; my mother was smart but private and emotional. Do those interior traits show on the outside? What do we look like together, face to face, united by family and frame, yet separated by decades and temperament? 

I am more than four decades older than my mother was in this picture of her. My younger mother takes me back to when I was her age. I reflect on what I did, how I felt, and who I was then. It reminds me of who I was in my twenties and thirties. My mother’s portrait evokes memories; I recognize and remember my younger self. I looked like that. I wore my hair in a similar style, and I still have that elusive faint smile. 

Our portrait was taken from above, as if history itself was looking down upon our story. We are both bathed in natural light, my mother in sepia and me in full color. I tenderly hold her, return her gaze and reflect upon her life, my life, and how I have very few pictures of myself to remind me of who I have been.



Alicia Morales, Good Morning!, 2023.

Alicia Morales, Good Morning!, 2023.

Alicia Morales, Who Said I'm Sleeping?, 2023.

Alicia Morales, Who Said I'm Sleeping?, 2023.



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at

Breaking Barriers is a program by USF Contemporary Art Museum in collaboration with the USF School of Art & Art History, is supported by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, USF Office of Veterans Success, Community Arts Impact Grant of the Hillsborough Arts Council, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, Love IV Lawrence, USFCAM ACE (Art for Community Engagement) Fund Patrons, and the Florida Department of State, Florida Arts & Culture.