At its core, this exhibition explores spontaneous feelings, capturing my own journey to self-awareness and acceptance. For me, art becomes a coping mechanism when I find myself unable to find the words that accurately describe how I feel, nor a person to let everything out to. For the past few years, I have dealt with extreme highs and lows as a result of a loss in parental guidance; experiencing floods of emotions, followed by mental and physical isolation, which I’ve recently discovered to be the fruit of a deep rooted sense of abandonment. I compare my present self to who I was as a child, overwhelmed by the fact that the people I am closest to today will never met the truly happy version of me. Waking up each day became more and more pointless, and simple tasks felt impossible to complete. Eventually, the comfort I used to feel in school slowly turned into restlessness and chronic procrastination. My standards for living lowered to survival as I hyper focused on the anxious knot I felt in my chest night and day.
Unfortunately, there was not a moment where “something just clicked” and I suddenly felt better; I refused help for months, using superficial excuses and distractions to avoid my everyone and everything. I was a slave to perseverance and my plan was to keep going until my problems were too far behind me for me to care anymore. However, mental health does not work this way. “Staying strong” drove me crazy and I was forced to finally accept that I was not okay, and more importantly, that in itself that was also okay. Each day, in the art room, I was able to consciously calm down, and subconsciously express all my repressed feelings through a simple painting. I created abstract pieces, art which is the furthest from any depiction of ‘real life’. This turned painting into a safe space where I could finally be at peace mentally, my ultimate goal. Painting turned into a means of catharsis. All my artworks reflect me and specific moments, and through this process, I became in tune with the person I have become, which helped me understand my thoughts and my actions just a little bit more.
Being left with a pile of paintings to choose from, I decided to select pieces that not only spoke to me but that also spoke to each other. They all have an element of movement as they flow into one another as well as into their space. I achieved this through spontaneous drips, circles, curves and loops. This movement reflects the passage of time; progress, healing and awareness. I gravitated towards cool blues and greens as they embody and diffuse the serene aura I was seeking out when making them in the first place. These themes also hint towards nature and flowing water like rivers, waterfalls and streams. Moving to a big city and being forced to stay inside due to lockdown, kept me away from nature, which used to be the prime source in healing me each day. Ultimately, I was pulling out of my paintings, what I couldn’t find in my own life; strength, stability, and safety.
Despite the exhibition being very personal, it is also arranged to maximise the relationship with the viewers; to instigate and draw out their own feeling too. When curating my artworks, I wanted to build a slightly enclosed space that also allowed people to walk around the paintings. I used two boards to create a broad hallway, and gave the illusion of closing it off by suspending two artworks at either open end, allowing people to circle around, creating a cycle. I wanted the flow of the viewers to emulate the movement in my paintings and vice versa. To enhance the viewing journey, there are also a few surprise elements, such as one of the paintings changing once you walk around it, or a canvas draped over the top of a board, which is two different colours on either side. By doing this, the viewer’s attentions is pushed upwards, and they are also forced to move through and around the space in order to take in everything.