Updated: Apr 24
My practice is currently exploring the concept of flow state as a method for meditation and allowing new ideas to come to me through contemplation. I’ve been struggling with jumping all over the place in my practice, not being able to stay on a single path long enough to create a cohesive body of work. Recently, however, I realized that there is a common theme.
My art is about identity.
Personal identity, Canadian identity, and the struggle to accept identity. My interest in clothing and jewelry adornment is proudly and unapologetically displaying it, or perhaps sometimes hiding behind a manufactured persona. I also often reference the body directly through fleshy imagery like eyes and hair. I’m beginning to understand this as a means of grappling with the discomfort of being a physical body being witnessed by other bodies: the fear of being perceived. My usable craft objects are important for understanding how our personal tastes form our environment, from home décor to items of daily use such as mugs, towels and blankets. I find myself keeping a secret practice as well with my drawing and painting which I create for my own sanity and refuse to display outside of my home, keeping them away from criticism and outside influence. Maybe someday this will change.
Exploring identity as a Canadian is a very difficult topic. I’ve been researching my family history as many young people do when feeling lost. I’ve discovered that the history of Ukrainian people in Canada is rather unsavory. They came to Canada to escape internment camps and cultural genocide at the hands of late imperial Russia and the USSR, only to be deemed as enemies with foreign interest during WWI and placed in internment camps until 1920. Speaking Ukrainian was banned in schools until 1950. These struggles led to the formation of close relationships with Indigenous people, that were later intentionally forgotten to make assimilation (and therefore life) simpler. Ukrainian Canadians had the ability to blend into the background of colonialist culture, so they did. It’s easier to forget than it is to reconcile. Our history isn’t as black and white as we are made to believe. Numerous cultures have interacted with each other in different ways for different reasons and forgetting the past leaves us feeling lost. How do we grapple with this moving forward? If I don’t tell this story I am actively participating in colonialism and the erasure of Indigenous people, my personal identity as well as Canadian identity as a whole.
I plan to continue using flow state and automatism as a basis to overcome artist block and be alone with myself, contemplating the meaning of identity without restriction. I can see the particularities of what it means to be Canadian popping up in my work for the rest of my life.