All of my physical needs were met, I was fed nice food, had a roof over my head and a comfortable bed in which to sleep.
Somewhere along the line I was taught to shut down, to believe I was stupid and to feel ashamed of who I am that led to a comfort zone of hiding for most of my life. Extreme social anxiety is my biggest my fear and avoidance.
Growing up as a loner and having no friends, being constantly left out, not picked for any of the sports teams, being bullied, spending recess and lunch on my own and being the dumbest at maths confirmed how I felt about myself leading to life-long depression. Some kids were nice enough to let me “tag along” but that was as far as it went.
Going to boarding school at age nine triggered a stack of emotions all at once; anger, shock, resentment, abandonment, just to name a few. Worst of all was knowing those warm, re-assuring hugs that only a parent can give would only be felt during school holidays.
Slowly my journey as an artist unfolded. It was the only thing that brought me any joy and an escape from the harsh reality of feeling so alone and worthless. At some point I had to ask myself “who am I serving by hiding?” It became and is still becoming less about “me” and more about how can I make a difference in the world for all of "us."
At 6 years of age while walking home from school I was approached by a stranger. My innocence was taken away from me. When the incident was reported my mother was away and my father treated it as though I had just scraped my knee. Looking back I can see why capturing an animal’s innocence is so important in my works.
It’s funny how the disconnection I felt growing up is the exact opposite of what I aspire to capture in my art. I can see how my spiritual journey is related to my art journey and I am sure this is true for many other artists too.
I know there are people who have had horrific experiences far worse than mine and they have survived it all. They are strong and beautiful. At our core we all strong and beautiful no matter what has happened or happens to us.
When I was young I overheard my father speaking with my aunts that “she must do something with her hands.” That was the seed that was firmly planted in my brain for my art to blossom and for which I am truly grateful…