Self Portrait 2021
Oil On Canvas 24"x20"x1/2"
For the past seven years, I have done an annual self portrait and this year was no exception. In a search for truth and self knowing, I try to step outside myself and transfer the way I see myself onto a canvas. The girl I see here is not the version of myself I am proudest of, but she is important. She was tired and defeated and sitting in a deep state of shame and self loathing for the things she did and the things she failed to do. That girl and I have been on a journey together and when I see her, I try to meet her with compassion and understanding. I didn’t know it at the time but a certain freedom comes from allowing yourself to get things wrong and really forgive yourself, a mantra I continue to remind myself of as the challenges of life continue to fluctuate. I know that I have always had difficulty prescribing to the rigid, hetero normative script but knowing this and accepting it are two different things. For so long I convinced myself that I could somehow still have the best of both worlds and force myself into a mould I’m not sure I will ever fit in. The vandalised portrait illustrates the damaging self destructive need to self punish that only brings with it pain. The horns, the moustache, the devilish brows are temporary in the same way self hatred is. I now feel somewhat comforted by the knowledge that a certain state of mind does not have to be permanent and I am finally giving myself permission to grow, to be messy and to not have all the answers.