Cleola // This is a personal project based on my anxiety and is a reflection of what it is like to live with a mental illness. Through my work I wanted to show how my identity becomes distorted and fragmented, as my anxiety acts as a barrier to communicate and express myself completely. I have felt that my identity has been overshadowed by my anxiety and I have lost parts of me in which I do not recognise myself anymore.
My practice has been quite experimental, I have been working with mixed media, painting and drawing onto the photographs. I have manipulated the photographs and abstracted them to demonstrate how my identity is only seen in fragments and not seen as a whole. The work is a series of self portraits which explores the impact and effect anxiety has on my life. How the anxiety takes over in a careless and damaging way, impacting on how I am understood and perceived by others. I feel that most days, I am having a constant battle with myself, my mind tells me things that might not necessarily be true, but my unconscious feelings tell me how I am meant to act and perform. My anxiety can become quite controlling and my body is in a constant conflict with my mind.
The project has had a great emphasis on the interior and exterior self, how the body becomes a mental projection for the mind. I have been inspired by expressionist painters of the 17th Century, creating marks and fabricating the self to express the inward emotions that are felt. The materials that I have used distort and abstract my identity, making it hard for my identity to be stable and to be made visible. I have a growing frustration that I am not able to truly express myself and communicate what I feel properly to others because my anxiety makes me act in a certain way and controls the way I live my life. I wanted to represent the battle I have with my anxiety on a daily basis, by hiding parts of myself which best define me.