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Happy 2017 & beyond.

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Since 2012 I have shared a ‘new year, new me’ post with you all. Discussing the woes and hopes for the future. You may have however, realised that I missed out 2015.  I am totally shameless to say that I was depressed, low, lost and underwhelmed by life’s wonder. Did I really just admit that? I lost a lot- myself included. In 2015, I went through 6 months of physical, mental and emotion war. But I got up- and sometimes that is all it takes…getting up.

Me & Art & Travel.

This year (May 2016) I actively decided to become the curator of my life- to wholeheartedly go for what I want and do what I love. My first love is still here. Unchanged and messy as ever; art. Every time I pick up that paintbrush I feel the exact same feeling. I still create, I still publish and I still and always will be making. I decided to leave the freelance life as I felt a void this year. The amazing (and complicated) things that social media has done to the arts has knocked me. In a time full of creatives (in its multitude of definitions) I chose to teach. Full of nerves and indecision I went for it and now in 2017 I will be a qualified educator. Growing, moulding and teaching young people has been the most eye-opening and challenging experience in my journey of education. I call it ‘reciprocal learning’. They are totally educating me about the world. Their world is different, more complex and pressing in every way. I hope to change that. (Art can change the world right?). Moreover, I went back home (The Caribbean) this year. I connected with nature, my family and the island in an inexplicable way. It’s fascinating what the sun can do. I marvelled at myself and had a transformative experience. I’m back with my hair loc’d and my mind geared with aspirations to live a minimal, content life. Remember how I always used to refer to love as a main factor in my year? Well. I decided to be the woman of my own dreams. My passions are clear, my goals are in process and my purpose (I have realised) is people. Altogether this year has been a compilation of learning and growth- evoked by two imperative things. Attitude and Response.

Through 2015’s heartache, death, difficulty and strife I chose to live. Living (in its multiple facets) is a choice, happiness too. If I could leave a piece  peace of learned advice it would be that you have an immense power to curate your life, to change your life. Not enough of us walk in that power; or even grasp the notion of having potential. We all have purpose; you have purpose; walk in that.

I haven’t written on here for some months. But the support you all show me is incredible. I’m so thankful and grateful. I will get back to writing about life, art and stuff. But for now, catch me on youtube, where I discuss all the above.

There is no better time than the new year to change, to be a better you and to go for what truly moves you.

Happy 2017…and beyond,

Alicia M x

 

Learned lessons:

  • Protect your peace
  • Be the woman of your own dreams
  • Travel back to where you’re from to find out who you want to be
  • Death is inevitable
  • Nature heals
  • Rejection is protection
  • If you go out on a date ask him what he does for a ‘life’ not a living
  • If it moves you, do it
  • When in doubt, dance.
  • Be unapologetically you
  • Just because ‘things’ get better doesn’t mean they get easy
  • It’s all about attitude and response
  • Self-love first
  • Just get up
  • God is always good.

 

 

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I took a break away

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I sit here overlooking Paris Gare du Nord Station awaiting my train home with a child peering over my shoulder (lol). I have’t felt inspired to write in a very long time. So I just picked up my laptop and decided to type.

I took myself away on a whim and decided to experience life (for 3 days) by myself. Of course, this wasn’t the way that I intended, in fact, it wasn’t even initially planned alone; but that is the blessing of divine intervention. I fully believed that this was going to be one of the inevitable moments that would shape my thinking. Over the past month my mental wellbeing has suffered as a result of the stress and pressure I continually place on myself.I needed a break away.

Taking the time away to be still,quiet and break away from my recently troubled mind and heart proved difficult. It didn’t take me long to realise that in order break away from my mind, I had to confront it. Confrontation of my love patterns, my concepts of self and my shortcomings has taken (and will continue to take) work. Now, this experience did surprise me. It wasn’t an Eat, Pray, Love journey where I discovered the forgotten crevices of a city, met people who changed my prospective on life and successfully found a man that I could elope in an hour. No. In fact the exact opposite happened. I stayed indoors 80% of the time, vlogged, read and wrote (and spoke to myself and God a whole lot). Maybe one day I’ll have to courage to share my innermost thoughts on self-love and my deepest insecurities (I’m working on vulnerability).

Who knew that time away physically could have drastic affects on me emotionally and renew me spiritually?

I have realised a few things:

Security:

Initially, I had so much doubt in my security, my strength and my protection. This, (I have realised) has been nutured into me, directing deposited by my parents. (Who of course fed me horror Paris storied before I left). Most of my friends encouraged this trip but, of course, there were alternative people who completely opposed the notion (i.e. post office lady) who inadvisely and continuously told me she “…couldn’t ever go away alone, especially not Paris”. Having weights and opinions of discouragement, I instinctly decided go before I spoke myself out of it completely. With hindsight (and some faith-foresight) the reality was, I wasn’t alone, and I felt God’s presence and discerned his voice from my own encouraging me to push forth. I honestly needed this.

My anixety in the past has come from trying to hyper-manage my life. I now know that  I have control, but only to an extent. Having said that, I do have this new sense of belief in myself. I was my safety, my protection and security. I can take care of myself. On this trip away, no[body] made my experiences and no[body] held my happiness in their hands. This was a massive step for me and I can say that I’m totally and completely proud of myself.

Patience, imperfection and languages:

When being indoors, I re-read and finished The Wait. This book was truly a heaven send with such fruitful thoughts on life, being your best self, authentic love, patience and trusting God. I am open. Open to humility, vulnerability and consciously seeking understanding of my distinct purpose. I know, however, that this is an unfinished (and imperfect) journey but I feel repaired, thus doing my best to change my attitude, my language my responses.

Loneliness:

Don’t get me wrong, I felt lonely; dreadfully lonely; But I needed to feel that. I realised that I haven’t allowed myself to be alone in a long time. I have been fearful of this since I was 16 and nurtured by parental protection since birth. But Faith and fear do not coincide so it’s no surprise that now that my faith is growing, my fear is slowly (but surely) depleting. I know this loneliness will have ebbs and flows but I’m ok with that, especially if it means that I am building a stronger me.

So overall,I don’t particularly think Paris is a beautiful city (especially since the rain hasn’t stopped pouring), but is a memorable one. The city of my first trip alone and the place where I (dare I say it) found myself. For the first time, in a long time, I am happy.

So the tales are true, go away and see for yourself.

 

 

 

Confronting Death

Inevitable

The inevitable happened. In an instant life changed and I was never to look at peace again in the same way. I have been dealing with multiple losses in the past few months. 2015 has been that kind of year for me. But this loss was significant; heartbreaking. I have never experienced death this close. A lover- a friend- a young life. I have been trying to find reasoning; looking for (and questioning) faith. I was at a complete loss. My high’s didn’t seem that high compared to my devastating lows. I didn’t want to get up. But with faith, I did. Months later (still balancing the process of grief) I’m here knowing that death is imminent.  It’s never clichéd to say that life is too short- because it is. It can be too late to say I’m sorry, I forgive you, I love you. I pledge to live life to the fullest for him. So before the eleventh-hour approaches I decided to give love, radiate love and be love. I am bewildered by the inevitable and always will be. But with sorrow, comes light. I promise.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye @ Serpentine Gallery

 

My post-graduate qualms are the reasoning behind this prolonged hiatus. With an extreme feeling of displacement, art world obstacles and lack of inspiration, I visited Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s exhibition ‘After Dusk’ at the Serpentine Gallery. Having never visited a solo show and only seen her work in isolation, it was imperative to experience this show thoroughly- I visited twice. The exhibition showcased a selection of her new work, along with a variety of  “key paintings”. Yiadom-Boakye’s portraits are commonly large black figures that remain outsite of a particular time or moment. With this intentional awareness, I deciphered this as a call to the viewer to attempt to investigate her artist strategies.

My first walk into the gallery came along with a sense of hope. The fact that these particular instituitions can carry the constructs of Black British work is highly important. Once taking in the moment I began to make my way around the gallery space. The dominant feature, I believe, of Yiadom-Boakye’s work is the use of dimension. The magnitude of her canvas pieces were cleverly curated to almost cover the gallery walls. Of which spoke to me as premeditated gesture to representation in overall gallery spaces. I continue my walk and as I view these faces I see family, friends and people I know. I certainly have never met these people (and neither has Yiadom-Boakye as she builds faces from her imagination). Still, I feel an overwhelming sense of sentimentality. That is the power of representation.

The figures stand larger, greater and more important than I. The bodies enlongated, the limbs extended- coated with generous oil brushstrokes building layers of colour to assemble the figures of importance. The pieces are a combination of smooth and loose application techniques that portray an impression of movement. The faces are repeated in different paintings and are disseminated throughout the gallery.  The volume of curation elevates this feeling of mobility and of meeting the same people continously. It appears that identity is the core of her practice. The focus is blackness, hence the muted background. She suggests that the most important subject you are viewing is the body- the black body. Another incredibly significant element of the background is the removal of objects, thus, decarding any concept of moments. Considering that the figures have no specific placement they enivtably exist as timeless. Perhaps this was an ingenious thought to speculate the belonging of black embodiment within gallery spaces. Her work, (because of the additional substractions) can exist anywhere. Her work becomes universal and so does the representation of blackness. A fanstaic show by the Serpentine Gallery.

Artist Talk: Barbara Walker

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Research based artist Barbara Walker lead a talk on her work as part of the lecture series at my university a couple of months ago. Walker’s work comments upon the discourses of social, political and visual representations. She lead the talk beginning with earlier works and began to delve deeper into the concepts behind the acclaimed residency Show and Tell. I have always had an admiration for the artist strategies and curational aesthetics of Walker’s work. The discussion of Show and Tell was the most informative and imperative part of this talk for me. She discussed how working in a larger dimension was symbolic to the assessment of power and societal relations. There has been an ever-present discourse around the construction of portraits and the artists relationship to the subject. She therefore spoke of painting unknown models versus known models, and the complexes of constructing the faces alongside conceptual ideologies. Another compelling segment of the talk was a general discussion of her journey to becoming a practising artist. Speaking on how essential time for reflection is and the significance of dedication was insightful and encouraging. Being at a crossroads between undergradate and graduate, there is an unending repetition of the future prospects. This, at times, can seem daunting and uncomfortable. But this artist talk gave me the strength to have faith in my own journey. This is a transit of independence and personal growth. Everything has its time. Thank you to Barbara Walker for the instillment of persistence and courage. See Walkers work here

LaterPress- Amsterdam & Rotterdam

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Briefly documenting both cities (as i’ll be returning soon). I plan to evaluate how these spaces have changed with the difference of time. These photographs are a particular assessment of site specificity and audience engagment with art. I plan to use the photographs to channel the method of ‘compare and contrast’. I will later form a documentation book, in conjuction with my photozine . Enjoy the visuals,for now.