Springing from our celebration of Surrealism, officially born a century ago, we invite our contributors to reflect upon a concept central to the movement: the unconscious, and along with it, the unknown and the unsaid.

As is well known, we owe the notion of the unconscious to Sigmund Freud, who first articulated the idea in his book published in 1900 on The Interpretation of Dreams. Freud considered dreams as “the royal way” to accessing the unconscious. He explained the structure of the psyche in a remarkably spatial manner, often summarized as an iceberg, with the conscious mind as the proverbial tip and the unconscious below, much larger but hidden from sight. That concealed and mysterious mass holds what is repressed: what we don’t want to face or have been forced to bury deep inside us.

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Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare, oil on canvas, 101.6 × 126.7 cm, 1781, Detroit Institute of Arts (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

This is a call for honesty and courage. Here are some prompts to get you thinking:

  • How do you explore the dark recesses of your psyche?
  • In what ways do you allow your unconscious to speak to you?
  • How do you listen to your unconscious?
  • How do you discover what is unknown and unsaid?
  • How do you make visible what is repressed and buried inside you?
  • What has such exploration revealed to you?
  • Why do you feel compelled to face and express such hidden realities?
  • How do you reveal what is unknown and speak what is unsaid? And why is it important to you?
  • How are these troubled times reflected in your dreams and art?
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Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait, watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper, 20 1/4 x 13 3/4 in., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

Deadline: 1 March 2024.

Guidelines for UMVA Members’ Showcase:

We invite MAJ member artists (to become a member: click here) to submit up to four JPEG or png images (NO TIFF files), approximately 2800 pixels on width, resolution 72dpi.

  • Include an image list and statement or brief essay (600 words or less) in Word doc. format, NOT a PDF.
  • Label each image file as follows: your last name_Number of Image_Title (with no spaces in the title). Please DO NOT put whole caption/credit in image file label, see image list/caption format below (if you are submitting for a group put your own last name in first).
  • Label your document file names: Last Name_Title
  • Image list/caption format: create a list that is numbered to match the number in your image file label that includes the following: Artist’s Name, Title of Work, medium, size (example: 9 x 12 in.), date (optional), photo credit (example: photo: Ansel Adams) if not included we assume it is courtesy of the artist. Example: Unknown Artist, Untitled, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in., 2000 (photo: Ansel Adams).
  • Please wait until all of your material is compiled to submit.

Put “Unconsciousin the subject line and submit by email to umvalistings@gmail.com by the 1 March 2024 deadline. MAJ will limit the “Members’ Showcase” section to UMVA members who have not been published in the past year.

Do not send preformatted visual essays. Our editors will lay out text and images submitted using the guidelines above.

It is the MAJ’s policy to request and then publish image credits. We will not publish images the submitter does not have the right to publish. However, it is to be assumed that any uncredited or unlabeled images are the author’s/submitter’s own images. By submitting to the MAJ, you are acknowledging respect for these policies.



Image at top: Francisco de Goya, El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters), from Los Caprichos, etching, aquatint, drypoint, and burin, 7.44 x 5.87 in., c. 1799 (photo: Wikimedia Commons).