‘Haircut’ sculpture symbolizes local woman’s fight back from fall that left her paralyzed

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 4:50 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) -WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Central Texas woman who was paralyzed in a freak fall from a second story apartment balcony is telling the story of her journey through a piece of art now on display as part of an international exhibit.

Liz Mitchell of Waco created the three-dimensional sculpture called “haircut,” which consists of two balloons made of human hair that she says help tell the story of the day she was critically injured and of her journey to recovery.

While she’s been an artist since she was 10, even selling art on the side as she worked at the time of her accident as a prosecutor in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, this creation is very different.

“With this show I just gave myself the freedom to create art without the worry of selling it,” Liz said.

“I knew a lot of it would be quirky and outside the box.”

Liz’s long blonde hair figures prominently in her memories of the life-altering accident on Aug. 16, 2012.

“I had just gone to get my hair done that day,” Liz recalls.

Just hours later Liz fell from the balcony and broke her neck.

Her first vivid memory was watching as her newly-colored hair was shaved off so medical personnel could find the source of her bleeding.

“For me, being a woman, I got my hair done that day.”

“Hours later, I’m lying in the hospital and I could see my hair floating down and hitting the floor and I remember thinking ‘wow this is really serious.’”

Liz was in a medically-induced coma for a few days and during that time doctors told her now husband, Brian, and her parents that she would likely never have movement from the chest down.

“When waking up, I had motion in my arms which changed the course of my life and a few weeks later I had a little movement in my legs and ultimately three months later I walked out of the hospital.”

Liz is permanently disabled from the fall, and walks with the assistance of a cane or motorized scooter but the fall hasn’t kept her from expressing herself through her creativity.

She celebrated her 40th birthday by creating a core-of-the-body display with objects, medical equipment and obscure materials to show the struggle associated with disability.

That was part of her solo show this past fall at Waco’s Cultivate 7Twelve.

And then came the haircut piece.

“Haircut” was selected by Dab Art Co. out of California to be part of an exhibit called "Soledad,' a unique exhibition formed out of the circumstances of the COVID quarantine.

“My exhibit was just to tell the story but I think the piece is relevant now because so many people realize how much they took for granted. As silly as it sounds, things like getting your hair done and getting a haircut,” she said.

Liz is proud to be representing Waco around the world and despite the devastating story behind it, she hopes her deeply-personal art will inspire others.

“I feel so lucky I was able to do it,” Liz said.

Soledad is being presented in three cities and online at the same time; Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Ventura, Calif.

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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