on the edge of your conscience lies a spot where you keep reminders of your past, your hurt, your happy. far enough away to not be constantly bothered, but close enough that you can pull on the feelings at any time.
hear what you have to say
face yourself. love yourself. heal yourself.
hear what you have to say
face yourself. love yourself. heal yourself.
I S A I & II
ISA in Fijian is a cry of sorrow, a way to communicate empathy and understanding and compassion. When I was living there and I talked about sensitive things or I was having a rough day, the women there would reach out and say “Isa, Sam.” More of a “we understand” or a “we accept” than a cry of sorrow – a “your experiences are shared and your emotions about them are welcome and understood.” It’s a small word with a big unspoken impact. A connection.
We can all connect at a basic level, with no attention paid to cultural differences, misunderstandings, differing opinions. We can all connect with an emotion – no matter what causes it. We all know what happiness feels like – whether it was caused by a wedding, or a song, or person, or a meal. We all know what sadness feels like… Some of us know grief – whether it be from a family member, friend, or family pet. The emotion is the same; a common thread. Common ground – even if the situation that brought it about is different. In a way the subtitle to this piece should say “Common Ground.” We may not all experience the same things, but we sure do know the same emotions.
When I look at these sisters, I think about my time in Fiji and the connections I made with the people there. We connected through anything we had in common – which honestly wasn’t much situationally. But regardless of the situation and regardless of our very different views of the world, we created strong bonds. And through those bonds we were able to gain a perspective and understanding of each other’s situations, cultures, and views. By connecting through common ground, we eventually bridged our differences.
Latin for "shatter"
There is a raw truth to who you are when your heart is broken, or rather shattered, by a moment. The kind of shatter caused by the "I don't love you, anymore"s from your first love; by the "goodbye forever"s to a sibling who is still alive.
You aren't the you you were before this moment. You no longer exist. Your heart, your soul, your entire being is scattered across a metro station floor during rush hour and there is no way to know where the tiny bits of you will end up and how, or, even if, you will ever see them again. It's a personality crisis even those who are confident and resilient can't escape. Your bones and cuts can heal, they'll be scarred no doubt - different - but they will heal. The question is though, can your heart? What does a scar look like on your soul? Can you heal if you can't even find the pieces that need mending? Maybe, maybe not.
But you go on, looking; limping. At times oblivious and forward; at times fully aware and stagnant. Big things loom off in the distance and the small things consume you, because they are easier to face. The whole of the cosmos is easier to understand when you know it's far away but it can be overwhelming when you dive in and dig deep into the mechanics of it all - the elements, structures, laws of being. The whole of your trauma is easier to deal with pushed off, far out on your horizon, and can be re-traumatizing to revisit - what happened, what it's made of, how it happened.
But maybe it shatters so you can find the pieces, little by little - small moment by small moment. Slowly, in seemingly manageable portions, until you've found all that you can and then you are able to fill in the holes with the future - your forever love; getting to know your brother again. And on and on. A shattering in reverse.
W H E U A
Maori for bones
Did you know your bones show your life story. Traumas, sicknesses, diet, labor. Everything has markers in bones. When you die, they are the last to decompose, so they are what will be left to tell your story once your soul leaves. Carbon remnants of the effect of what a brain is capable of. The one thing they can't show is how you felt about what happened to you. How did that broken leg effect the year it happened. Were you relieved or mad or depressed? Did you eat unhealthy because you could control it or did you not have a choice? The stress of the things that your bones will show, the emotional turmoil - the actual toll on YOU.
When you become a part of the fossil record, will it tell the whole story? Probably not, so we need to create, write, paint, share the missing pieces of ourselves - to preserve ourselves.
Coming out of the turmoil of the past decade. I feel an overwhelming urge to document it. As if, to leave it there - on the page and canvas. Rid my body of stress. This piece formed a ridge line with rivers that flow and wash away the darkness. The ridge line/backbone is calm and beautiful, while the outer river washes are murky and dark and almost ready to wash off of the canvas and out of site. This really does show the washing away of trauma - letting it out so it can begin to be left behind.
K L A D O S
find the branch that made you > sit on it > look around > then grow your own
Ancient Greek word for "young branch, offshoot of a plant, shoot broken off," and is the source of the term "clade" "also known as monophyletic group, is a group of organisms that consists of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants, and represents a single "branch" on the "tree of life'" (Wikipedia) It's used a broad taxonomic term but I like to bring it a little closer to home.
I had a professor in college that was basically my logical mother. She guided me, not only in school but in life. I remember more than once she told me how my parents have too much of a say in my life. I was 20 and at the cusp of branching out. Up until then my parents and family's influence was all i knew and i was on the brink of having to take their influence and grow from it - away from it. Not necessarily meaning it was bad thing, just that i had to figure out how to influence my own forward path - my own new branch.
I was raised very closely with my extended family – dad’s side. We all saw each at minimum once a week. Big family dinners at gram’s and papa’s house. All of the cousins together like brothers and sisters. Everyone in in Papa’s direct Clade or branch present. Gram’s too. All of us together, us cousins, grew up supported, loved, and having multiple branches of support outside of our nuclear family. Most of us chose family parties over school parties most weekends and we were a strong, woven, unbreakable unit. we were fortunate in every sense of the word. Which made breaking away or at least diverging slightly hard.
I think knowing you belong somewhere doesn't mean you have to stay there - stationary. I think that it gives you the ROOTS needed to grow your own place on the tree of life. You are made of your DNA but you will also make others. Your past is a part of you but so is your future.
N A N U M A
think > remember > belong
This piece will forever be my flagship. It reminds me what I practice art for - to think about everything, process it, and meditate on how everything around me makes me feel. You need to think and remember - you need to think about your surroundings and process them. Process how everything effects you, form opinions about them, make connections and memories. You need to think about the people and places you surround yourself with - think about why. You need to remember ties and relationships to belong. You need to think and feel and remember to belong to reality. Art is my ticket to remembering and belonging to reality. I do not process stress or reality like anyone else [neither do you]
art connects me, grounds me, centers me, pushes me forward.
This piece will forever hang in my home and I will be creating prints. Once they are available, you will find them for sale in my prints section but until then you can inquire about pre-sale prints below.