Insecurities of an Impossible Name , 2018

An artist's self portrait envisioning themselves as Julius Caesar.

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Julius Cavira
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Insecurities of an Impossible Name

An artist's self portrait envisioning themselves as Julius Caesar.

"THE INSECURITIES OF AN IMPOSSIBLE NAME” is a ceramic self-portrait bust of the artist. Certain details were specifically chosen (i.e. the garb, chest plate, tassels, wreath, etc.), that are identifiable to the Roman dictator Julius Caesar. The idea is to make a visual connection of the Roman politician to the present-day American, myself. The representation of a conflict I have with both our first names being that of “Julius” and how anyone who has it is doomed to feel the burden to embody inspiration, excellence, overcome adversity, etc., qualities of the Greco-Roman Emperor, Caesar. This birthright conundrum baffled me whenever I delve into the subject. In my experience, it is a popular African-American first name. Research suggests that names can influence the choice of profession, living areas, spouses, etc. The go-to gut feeling about making a self-portrait bust was narcissistic, shallow, and delusional. Although, I felt the mission of the bust was rightly justified by my thesis of identity and trauma. In hindsight, in legitimizing its existence, the bust is a physical embodiment of my closure to all my grievances when I was a child.

Julius Cavira


Art – Sculpture

Graduation Year



United States


Julius Cavira RISD MFA 22 SC grew up in Chicago, IL. He took free art classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where he later earned a BFA. After two tours to Iraq, Cavira honorably discharged from the US Army. His work in the Sculpture MFA program—which recently earned him a prestigious St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award—translates his experiences with the military, religion and identity into potent, poignant forms. In the fall Cavira will pursue a second master’s degree, in RISD’s Teaching + Learning in Art + Design department (TLAD).


Measurements (Width X Height X Depth)

15 X 28 X 8 in

38.1 X 71.12 X 20.32 Cm


60 lb

27.22 Kg


mix media on ceramic

At the time of the creation, I wasn't attending any colleges or in any collegiate forum of critical thinking in art. Although, what was a curiosity, became an investment, which became my obsession with revealing the personal by portraying the universal trauma, perspectives, life experiences, etc. This piece was one of a handful of works that bridge the commercial and superficial to the private and complex which touch upon my conceptual figurative fine art.
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