The idea behind this series came whilst completing my BA in 2015. I was trying to express myself emotionally and the transition I was experiencing in my late 40's, these being the physical changes that come with the Menopause and the loss of fertility. This was also where I began to explore my identity and consider who I was and what I came from.
I used a teardrop form as a symbol for myself as it relates to my Iranian heritage, it is a motif frequently used in Iranian textile designs, sometimes denoting the tears of God or that of a Cypress tree. It is also a shape that can be read with varying meanings from a viewer’s perspective, and therefore is assessable in an abstract form to the viewer. I was emotionally investing myself in these images in a way I had shied away from before, in that I was responding to my own emotional state of mind. The work in the final project of my degree aesthetically went in another direction, however after graduating I began to investigate the effects of adoption on young babies, and returned to using this symbol as an emotional expression.
The Sum of all things A Breath from the East
(Both screeprint with watercolour & acrylic)
These drawings came as I read a book given to me by a friend, The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Mid-Life (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts) by James Hollis, which despite its ridiculously long winded title is a really good analysis of the mental journey one might encounter in mid-life. It draws on Yung’s theories that this transition can be a positive experience, and that the turmoil and self-reflection can lead to a fuller and more full filled life. This coincided with a talk on 'Melancholy – The English Disease' by Research Professor Joannes Kesenne, I had attended at Uwe with Drawing & Print students. One of the theories he discussed was that as artists Melancholy was once used as a pathway to a deeper understanding of yourself, it was part of the journey, and at this point I seemed very much on that pathway.
As I drew them I was thinking about who I was, the DNA, the memories and experiences that had formed me, the drawing itself was quite a meditative process. I was also reading papers on adoption and the psychological effects on babies taken under two months, (as I was), when it is thought a baby does not know it is a separate entity. It seems two character traits come from the 'trauma' of separation, either the child is angry and emotionally extrovert or compliant and emotionally introvert. I was the latter, reading this opened a new understanding of myself and the subconscious voices I have clattering around my head, although rationally you know the adoption is not of your doing, unconsciously you believed you did something wrong, this in turn has an effect your self-worth. This new insight has rendered my subconscious doubts weaker and myself worth grow.
Three of the drawings are a triptych based around this experience, of separation from my Mother, crisis point as my world began to fall apart and reconciliation with a better understanding of self. Because of this back story these drawings are very important to me, and I wanted to see them taken to fruition in Screenprint as I had always intended, and used the Developing Practise module to do so and experiment how I might take them further.