Body Talk, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
Mixed media

I wanted to paint this piece for months before I actually took the brush to the canvas.
All I knew was I wanted to paint a strong black face, female.
It was not about being strong in the typical way we think of, but strong in the face of fear. I grew up afraid of the dark but in my adult years have come to understand that my apprehensions were of my own creation, and I can walk in the dark now in peace.
To me the black face represented these feelings. The fear of being myself.
The stigma of having a mental health diagnosis, and how people who learn this become washed with fear. The fear of expressing myself and not being accepted. The fear of not wanting to be accepted. The fear of being strong enough to stand on my own.

In the pieces of paper glued onto the piece are lyrics from a song I often play when I feel vulnerable:

Some people want me
To be Heads or Tails
I say No Way

I can no longer live in fear of not fulfilling the expectations others have set for me. I will let my body talk to me freely and I will listen with an open heart. Sat Nam. Namaste.

– AyGG