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Introducing The Culturs Alchemist Awards

Alchemist Award, designed by Deidre Hardin

The Culturs Alchemist Awards celebrate the best and brightest of our in-between community. From Third Culture Kids and Military B.R.A.T.s, to immigrants, mixed-race, multi-ethnic and Expats, we want to uplift and amplify the brightest minds, talents and visions of those often overlooked.

According to Military B.R.A.T. Deidre Hardin, who designed the Culturs Alchemist Award:

As an artist, the spark of creativity is fickle at best. I tend to start a concept, set it aside, then come back when it calls for my attention.

I spent a day playing with ideas meant to express the meaning of the CULTURS award. Keywords like belonging, family, culture and food were some of the broad concepts I considered.

Alchemist Award, designed by Deidre Hardin
Alchemist Award, designed by Deidre Hardin

By the evening, I had drained my mental toolbox and settled down to listen to an audiobook. “The Alchemist,” by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, was to be the catalyst that brought my efforts into fruition.

My initial hesitation was with using copper to create the piece, my assumption being the award should be an elaborate material. This anxiety was swiftly laid to rest after a few sentences in the book stated, “There is no need for iron to be the same as copper or copper the same as gold … copper and iron have their own legends to fulfill.”

Birthed from this unexpected inspiration came “The Alchemist Heart,” the title for the copper heart sculpture. The book is a metaphor for life: A story about a personal journey and how to listen to your heart and follow your dreams.

Alchemist Award, designed by Deidre Hardin
Alchemist Award, designed by Deidre Hardin

The secrets of alchemy are said to exist on a small emerald tablet that can’t be expressed in words. The Alchemist can transmute lead into gold and uses a solvent called the elixir of life to cure all ills.

The secrets of alchemy are said to exist on a small emerald tablet that can’t be expressed in words.

The chaotically twisted copper design is an interpretation of a personal journey through travel, decisions and career paths. The top of the heart is left open to represent one’s courage to embark upon their possibilities. Therefore, I placed the faux emerald that symbolized the Philosopher’s Stone as the eye of the fish.

The fish symbolized not only food but a biblical proportion in sharing a skill with others. The base, as referenced in the book, can be the elixir of life or the oceans of the world.
As a whole, the piece may be interpreted as ocean-crossed global citizens who find home, happiness and belonging within their hearts. No heart suffers while pursuing its dreams using lessons learned in discovering its legend.

Ultimately, there is no magic panacea to one’s heart’s desire.

Stay tuned for more info on how to nominate someone for this award!

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