Wednesday, 29 June 2016

June 29th 2016

I am in pain. The country I was born and brought up in has revealed an ugly side that I knew was there but I did not fully realize the extent. The UK's decision to leave the EU has left me shocked and cut adrift. As horrifying as the rise of Trump has been in the US, I felt it wasn't my fight. If Trump got in we would leave, go back to Europe. I was stupid and naive. This kind of evil is everyone's problem and I am left questioning everyday what I can do to contribute, to stand up and say 'kindness matters, tolerance is essential and hatred must be diminished at every turn.'

We are in days of shadow and the history we thought we left behind seems doomed to repeat itself. I have cried for my loss of identity, the sense of betrayal, with sadness for my family in the UK with guilt for bringing my daughter into such a world and shame because I know my chest beating is a little self-indulgent - it's not as if I need to look over my shoulder because of the color of my skin or the number of consonants in my last name.

What I do know is that I refuse to be defined by the rules set up by other more privileged than myself and I cannot run and hide. To be alive is a political act.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

"My Heart is Soaring"

First attempt at self-portrait with brush marker
It's not so easy these days to get to classes, particular ones that are over a number of weeks. So when my good friend and teacher Ursula let me know that she was doing a day-long class on a weekend on self-portraiture, I signed up even though the subject wasn't too interesting to me. I should say though, that not having an immediate interest in a area often is a good reason to try it.

Spending several hours through the day in a class was actually a great thing. It meant you could get immersed in the work and explore it. I had low expectations of what I would create, I always do.

Shared self-portrait
The six other students were also women and Ursula chatted a little at the beginning about the history of portraiture and women. Being part of the class felt subversive and cathartic.   It was moving to see what we created and also in my own work, to recognize the mark of my genes. 

As a woman I felt so empowered by this experience and also surprised at how much I really was able to render my own face. 

For all of us it was such profound day "my hear is soaring" said Ursula, as she watched us work. 

Final piece in acrylics and mixed media