“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
Losing someone feels colossal and heavy. The elephant in the room. But elephants also represent endurance, strength, wisdom and the power of family. Pennerman lost her Auntie Terri last May. The mural is inspired by Terri’s favorite animal, the elephant, and all the complexity of their symbolism. The artist’s hope is for this mural to brighten people’s spirits as they walk, just like Auntie Terri brightened so many people’s lives. It’s a reminder to cherish your loved one’s memories, because it’ll give you strength to keep going. Their love and wisdom will forever be with us.
Aysha Pennerman’s art is an ongoing exploration of how she can be a light in the world through her creativity, turning what’s ordinary or overlooked into a colorful and culturally relevant source of pride. As a military kid, she was born in Germany and vacationed in places like London and Paris. She and her family moved from Europe to Texas, New Jersey, back to Germany, then settled in Savannah, Georgia—a city full of history, culture, and natural aesthetics. These early traveling experiences gifted Aysha with an open mind, a deep respect for different cultures, and an eye for natural beauty. The Atlanta-based artist has been exploring the arts since childhood: sketching cartoon characters while her mom did her hair, drawing and coloring flowers with her grandmother, and watching her aunt make black dolls out of wood, buttons, and fabrics. Art was all around her growing up, despite the multiple moves. While in college, Aysha served as the design editor for Georgia State University’s newspaper. She also designed books and other graphics for the APEX Museum, where she was introduced to black history that textbooks disregarded. Shortly after, she assisted Chloe x Halle with design projects for their competition in Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing, and they won. After graduating with a B.A. in Fine Arts and working in the corporate world, she realized her calling to impact through her art. Aysha took a leap of faith and transitioned to full-time freelancing as an artist. Combining more than 10 years as a graphic design artist with her paintings on murals and canvases, Aysha’s current work explores silhouettes or multi-toned monochromatic faces with acrylic paint in combination of textures and patterns created with thick acrylic mediums. She uses typography, color symbolisms, or figures to portray inspiring messages. From back when she rebranded The Signal into a first-place, award-winning college newspaper to her present-day public and commissioned artwork, Aysha has a long history of creating pieces that make people proud of who they are and where they’re from. To further her goal of offering light and hope, Aysha launched Impactful Brush, a nonprofit organization with a mission to help beautify communities in need through community-based murals that reflect the community’s voice. Involving the youth and community in the process providing art accessibility and an opportunity to learn how community service can be accomplished creatively and meaningfully.