Poems by Marlena chertock 

& Photo Series "All of You (A Celebration)"

by Kevin Berry


People of short stature endure a world of difference: we have different body types, different access needs, different physical abilities, and different perspectives on life than most of the people we see throughout our day. Yet despite these differences, we overcome - every single day - in ways often overlooked by those who do not share our challenges. Our peculiar bodies, though heart-full with love, are subject to different stares from different people, in a world that often sees us and treats us as different. 

The thing is, though, we are not so different. When we really get down to the Essential You that resides within, You are like Me are like Them. Each of us is human, each with our own unique experience of life that offers wisdom and challenges unlike any other. That is why, in creating this photo series, I chose to show a range of emotions. We all have moments of joy, sadness, seductiveness, anger, shame, love, and everything in between; whether short stature or average height, we all experience the full range of emotions - messy and wonderful - and that’s okay. I’ll say it again: whatever your emotion, it is okay. 

This art piece is one of participation. 

1. Choose one of the face-down cards from pile one. Take a moment to look in the mirror mimic that person’s expression, to identify with it. What is that emotion? 

2. Choose one of the face-down cards from pile 2.  Take a moment to look in the mirror mimic that person’s expression, to identify with it. What is that emotion? 

3. Choose on of the face-down cards from pile 3. As you look in the mirror, say the mantra “I am ..." followed by the word on the card. Think about how you already are the word on that card.


Marlena Chertock


Titles (6 poems):The people on the bus, My body, The only awkward one, The shadow knows itself, Self-portrait as a garden, Indent


Inspiration for the piece:

I see my work as activism. Anything you write is political, even if you don't mean it to be. Just the act of writing, speaking out, creating art is political. By writing the body, my body, I'm choosing not to hide spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia and disability. This body is all I have — and I choose to love it and share it.


My writing often focuses on chronic pain, my body, and how resilient we are as humans. Pain is so different for everyone — it is invisible, but so very real. I use scientific and natural imagery to define pain. These poems were inspired by Kevin Berry’s photo series. I appreciate how close Kevin brings his camera into folks' faces, how he focuses on their facial expressions. Their brows furrow in anger, they give the camera side-eye, they cross their arms, and grin widely.


Even though I couldn't attend the LPA convention this year, I think the Dwarf Artist Coalition is truly needed and an incredible gathering of artists. I'm honored to be a part of this project.



Kevin Berry

Inspiration for the piece:

The lens from which I explored Melchizefek  Jean Jacques’ dance was of a psychological focus. With a background in psychology and a desire to help others live their best life (which includes developing self-acceptance), I interpreted the movements of Melchizedek’s dance as an expression of his inner psyche. Consequently, I chose the expression of my photo series to be facial expressions of different emotions. Though Melchizefek’s dance was largely one of positive movement, I chose to extend my photo series to capture “negative” emotions, to invite  understanding that those are real and valid emotions as well. I chose the card format as a way to explore psychological “priming” as a means to the end - which is to bring the viewer to a place of empowerment with the final pile of cards.


Born and raised in a small town in rural Canada, I was blessed with strong friendships and familial supports - those which encouraged adventure and inner strength. It has been my privilege to spend the majority of my life as a student acquiring a varied breadth of knowledge. In my spare time I write music and travel. Currently, after a year of crossing the continent in a camper van I custom built (with lots of help!), like many before me, I am in the process of getting hip replacement surgeries. Afterwards, I will be pursuing a degree in counselling psychology


Location: No fixed address.