WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN references Newton’s first law of motion – the apple that went up will again plummet to the ground – emotional highs are followed by emotional lows. This specifically refers to the dramatic cycling of moods in mood disorders, but is relative to anyone who has ever encountered any form of mental illness.
Creativity has long been associated with mental instability– there is a historical clichéd link between madness and heightened creative capabilities or genius: the mad being the radical, imbalanced creators.
In actuality mental illness is not so romantic - It is a silent deadly disease that often remains untreated due to a lack of information, treatment and the fear of the stigma that comes with a diagnosis.
It is fundamentally difficult: it makes us lose control of ourselves, lose sight of our ambitions, treat others badly, hide away inside ourselves; it scares us to death and sometimes it makes us want to erase ourselves entirely.
That we survive is incredible - we are functioning members of society contributing greatly and atypically adding a splash of color to a monochromatic world. We know that this too shall pass and we know it better than most.
WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN is a celebration, a memorial, a shout in the dark, an open space sharing the intimate troubles of the mind – displaying how they hurt us but also how they are a part of us and what we can create out of them. It is not a celebration of madness – true insanity and the unbearable perils of the mind in pain is nothing to celebrate but surviving them certainly is.
We cope, we create, we excel, we fall down lower than low and emerge from it humbled, tender, bruised and climb up the ladder again. We are careful – we are foolish – we are fast, slow, anxious, depressed, medicated, stigmatized, moody, irrational, angry, frustrated, empathetic, and acutely aware of what it is to be human.
Photoseries "Hers"(18 photos) conditionally "diary", filmed half year. This work I am grateful to the possibility to go through a difficult condition and to distance from bipolar II disorder. I used one mirror in the hallway, beyond which I often was afraid to go out, my disorder, camera and everything else.
'The Harder The Heart'
“He was enjoying the feeling of freedom imparted by having got rid of this luggage and at the same time, more intimately, by the certainty that, now that he was ‘sorted out’, his identity registered, his boarding pass in his pocket, he had nothing to do but wait for the sequence of events.”
(Marc Augé, 2000)
The Harder The Heart is a journey through multiple continents with an international rock band that put me through more than 100,000 miles of flights, buses, hotels and venues. On top of the sights and sounds, the partying and the booze, it was a dreaded perpetual alternation between waiting and moving. Working through screams of people every night can be exhilarating yet terrifying; 2 hours of purpose and keeping with the program, then sudden stark silence, as the machine bellows again towards the next procession, the last city forgotten; reincarnation. This body of work is as much a documentation of rock n’ roll tour life, as it is a mental state’s defensive mechanism against degeneration. These ever-changing, yet oddly familiar infrastructures and journeys, eventually become a singular entity of unconsciousness, as I fight constant disorientation and passive re-adjustments in the face of dreadful seriality.
The Harder The Heart comes from a Bullet For My Valentine song of the same name, the band of which these tours originate from. The title is a word play on desires to shut off emotions during these months-long tours, the only perceived solution I have for survival. Born out of the circumstance of necessity and disillusionment, the unending states of stasis afforded by chunks of physical voyage and mental solitude had presented many questions to myself. What is the meaning of home, when presented with many foreign beds? What is the meaning of masculinity, when surrounded by seasoned men of labour. What does it mean to long for intimate encounters and emotions, when stranded in a sea of passersby. What is the purpose of indulging in fantasy, when one starts to see patterns of temporary escape?
Old perspectives of the mythical rockstar lifestyle are destroyed by the limits of the human mind and body in passive anxiety, often leading oneself astray. In the midst of these unconscious struggles, I started collecting articles containing interactions from real, tangible individuals. Hotel letters, bills and fan letters. These items, along with tour memorabilia, become a mechanism for me to juxtapose seriality. The Harder The Heart originates from multiple journeys, but the photographs and collected articles themselves have become a non- linear body of work, each an open-ended survey without any forms of barometer from the last. This mentality is ultimately vital to create a tension between the common perception of a glamorous jet-setting tour life, and underwhelmingness felt in the photographs. Lastly, a single chronicle monologue gives viewers a micro context; the experience of loneliness, lethargy, disorientation, anxiety, and longing.
“I saw you breathing…”
“I saw you breathing…” is an internal dialogue battling feelings of impermanence and attachment to material objects. It is a nonlinear narrative that observes the pain, trauma, and confusion as a 25 year old reflecting at my 18 year old self witnessing her mother slowly die from ovarian cancer. Elements of materiality are intrinsic to human nature — even religious depictions are material attachments. My view of impermanence is not angry or necessarily unhappy, but one of yearning. I refer to images of nature, rotting fruit and vegetables, and the objectification of human bodies to illustrate that this yearning that all humans have when we lose someone important to us is full of contradictions: abstract yet concrete, balance and imbalance in our lives, and expectations vs reality.
My practice engages with photography, specifically 35mm and 120 film photography as I seek to develop a practice that is concerned with the representation of identity in relation to memory, architecture and landscape. I use the canon of memory to address the complexities of my diaspora identity through personal experiences. White Trainers traces the memory of my Father's suicide. From 1990 to 1993, I live at Patio Close in South London. My Dad committed suicide outside of our home in May 1993, a month after my 12th birthday. Documenting this series was my first visit back in 20 years. This series is my attempt to discuss themes around death; mental health, location and architecture.
This series has allowed me to process how the trauma of this event which has subsequently shaped my identity which continues to be affected by depression/anxiety, and to address black male suicide which disproportionately affects the black community and still remains a topic that is not widely discussed.
This series of images is an exploration of emotional states through meditation, using a camera as a way into the corridors of my mind. Analysing my thoughts in a domestic space I create sculptural compositions and metaphors.
In the past years I went through heavy periods of depression. Paralyzing dark clouds surrounded me. Everyday existence was unbearable... There was no progress, no hope...
Photographing around my house acted as a kind of therapy, the moment when I look through the lens and go into some kind of trans, like a journey through a portal into another world.,
My way of seeing becomes the device for removing myself from reality and placing me in some kind of Alice in Wonderland dimension- my escape into the world of my personal objects, shapes and colours.
Art is a powerful tool for creating a dialog about mental health taboos. Millions of people are quietly suffering without their closest friends and family being aware of the dangers. We all need to open up more, discuss and explain the illnesses, such as depression, self-doubt and anxiety. We need therapy, acceptance and support of others to prevent suicides and desperation.
Mind Corridors is my work in progress.
Twisted Structures is my ongoing series of digital collages, created using photography of sites discovered in my exploration of London. Each piece involves the layering of multiple photos— through digital means, I warp and distort the architectural shapes, resulting in a surreal and disorienting composition. This project began as a digital technical exercise, but has gradually shifted over time to have a variety of intentions and interpretations.
As a stranger to a new country, I seek to chronicle the feeling of being lost within one’s physical surroundings. These compositions, which are also optical illusions, can be considered visual representations of mental illness and its constantly shifting perspectives. Mental illness can, like these works, present a skewed version of reality for the viewer. They have the effect of inducing vertigo, or of spiraling out of control—this emulates the feelings of fear and confusion that arise from anxiety disorders.