After wrapping up our last MwP research team meeting, I had a session with my new therapist. We're almost 10 sessions deep, so not super-new?
Anyways, I took my feelings of grief, local grief, global grief and physical grief into my session. Therapist, who I will refer to as 'T' from hereon, and I talked about where I was feeling the grief in my body. She asked me to point to it, and comfort it. I shared with T the grief I hold from all the loss I've experienced, and then the passing of those I don't know. After some [self] soothing, we got into talking about how joy and healing can live beside the grief inside us. T challenged me to imagine them living side by side. I created the following piece after the session, thinking about how they're existing side by side in me. This piece on duality is very personal, and I value it for the sentimental processing, but I'm not keen on how it looks. I wish I could depict the duality in a less literal way, the visual feels elementary and I feel frustrated about it.
Struggling with creation in a time when white supremacy is destroying (and taking) Afro-Indigenous lives, I reached back out to the best painter I know: Raoul. Raoul turns strokes into text, faces, fruits. He mixes colour and understands value like a Photoshop slider. He was kind enough to a offer a quick tutorial, and studio tour the last day of regular creation I had, the day Regis died. I messaged Raoul explaining I've been struggling to pick up a paint brush, and getting back into a routine. He offered wisdom beyond his years, and a passion for painting that is infectious. As I mentioned that I feel drawn to fruits, Raoul recommended I do small studies of Cezanne's pommes! I've seen Anong from Beam Paints do a tutorial of his apples before. I didn't feel super excited about repainting a white guy's work and tried to think of who else might be a better subject.
I eventually remembered some of Frida Kahlo's work featured produce, too. A disabled, queer, brown femme like myself - I felt super excited about this. In researching what Kahlo pieces I wanted to study, I came across a piece that I felt intensely connected to. The painting called Diego and Frida, (started in 1929, completed in 1944) is described by FridaKahlo.org as follows, "In this double-portait, they were portaited not as a couple, but as only one person. Both halves of faces complete each other. This painting mingles both of their images and identities. She created a single head out of half of each of their faces."
Now, I'm not comparing my work to the amazing Frida Kahlo's, but I am comparing my work to Frida Kahlo's. The two faces as one face, and the roots plus sun rays, remind me of my faces and rays. The two shells on the bottom, remind me of the two plants on the bottom of mine. I felt overcome with emotion, somehow seen and understood by her in a way most alive people might not know me - I'm a scorpio afterall. And in the end, it made me feel less shitty about how my piece looks, because the emotions are important.
After picking out a few paintings, I got started on my first few studies with Raoul's advice! The dragonfruit piece was the hardest, but the little skeleton on the top right is my favourite. Yesterday, I read that Kahlo's still life pieces were often sexually suggestive, with symbols of parrots - and I was incredibly confused. Then, when I have to paint the puffy chest of one of her parrots, I noticed that it had the curvature of testicles, and so I think I cracked the case on that one.
Two different people, who also happen to be artists (my sibling, and a Sketch artist) seperately suggested I keep the washi tape on this page, because it creates an interesting contrast. I wasn't so sure about it when my sibling suggested it, but hearing it again has me thinking I may leave it on.
Beyond these two pages, the other painting I've been doing - is keeping track of how much has been fundraised for Iyanna Dior via direct donations I'm collecting and a shoe raffle I'm running on Sticky Mangos. The left tube is over flowing because we've raised over $500 to support her. The donations and raffle close at 5 pm EST tomorrow. But 50% of all my tips from my upcoming drag debut at Pride Toronto will also be donated to Iyanna, in case you're waiting for a check to come in before you can redistribute funds to community. ♥️