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I JUST HAD A BLOOD TEST,
LET'S HAVE COFFEE

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Self Portrait 1, A3 Riso Print

 

riso print of a woman laid down on the floor with her leg up in front of night blue background. A myriad of colorful spots on her skin like starts in space. A pearl-string halo behind her head

“The self-portrait is a profound dialog with oneself, guided by the author's vulnerability.”

--Cristina Nuñez

 

Since 12 years old, I have mastered the art of hiding. In summer, I’ve learnt the best way to avoid suspicion and heatstroke is to hide my legs under maxi skirts and patterned stockings. Self Portrait is a collection of drawings where I come face to face with my insecurity and shame towards my own body. It was a scary and lengthy journey as I positioned my legs in front of the mirror and slowly traced the outline of my body. There is no room for hiding.

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Self Portrait 2, A3 Riso Print

A riso print of a pair of legs floating above two wheels of wind and fire. There are white spots on her legs. The background is a dawn-like warm orange.

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Self Portrait 3, A3 Riso Print

riso print of a burnt Sienna color hand in light red spots reaching towards a drink in tall glass. The background is sky blue.

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Self Portrait 4, A4 watercolour

A watercolor drawing of a woman of black hair in mid dance. Blood red spots on her legs.

Mermaids Cry in Pearls

3 meters muslin fabric, cotton thread, white beads

A woman in green asleep beside. A book and a cafe receipt beside her head. Pearl-like beads embroidered throughout her legs and arms. The fabric is in wrinkles.

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Sit In 

liquid latex, coffee grind, acrylic paint, cotton thread, muslin fabric

 

An abstract background with a green chair embroidery.

 

It is the first of an ongoing collection of works that calls on an act of inclusivity by simply putting chairs in public spaces for people to rest and gather.

 

Having been to many events sans chairs, I was often left with two choices: sit on the ground or go home. The absence of chairs in social spaces, such as galleries, events, parties, gardens, etc., robs people of the opportunity to micro-rest and adjust their bodies.

 

Inspired by Parisian Green Chairs, Sit In advocates providing tools that help people exist in already existing spaces instead of creating segregated spaces that are ‘built for people with disability’

 

In the cafe, all art can be viewed from a seated position.  

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Blood Test 

liquid latex, coffee grind, acrylic paint, cotton thread, muslin fabric

 

A dark brown wire sculpture of an arm suspended by a dry rose on a string bag. A silver flower blooms from where the blood is usually drawn on the arm.

 

The concept of this show, I Just Had A Blood Test, Let’s Have Coffee, comes to me after an unexpected additional blood test from the NHS.

 

My condition, right now they are saying it’s vesculits, requires regular clinical monitoring and tests. And the worst part, maybe some of you may have unfortunately experienced before, is the waiting.

 

It’s after the blood test and before the result.

 

Is this the time the other shoe finally drops?

 

Is this the time they finally go from “don’t worry about it. Put some cream” to “ohh”?  I felt I should “go home and rest “ and cry on my bed and not move, not do anything that might burst my fragile body, even though it’s just 11 am on a sunny Friday morning.

 

And that’s when I felt weak.

 

I felt sick.

 

Not when I’m being drained 8 tubes of blood, I did not feel weak then, in fact, I felt i was the strongest person alive. No. I felt weak that morning. 

 

But there’s another part of me, like a thoroughly disappointed film critic, watching my life’s trajectory, and says fuck that. It’s a boring narrative and I refuse it. So, I went to a gorgeous cafe, I’m talking beautifully decorated space with proper coffee beans and a range of milks. And I ordered a coffee. And I brought out my drawing notebook and starts drawing. And I said to myself, this is what today is about. Yes, I went out the door to have a blood test. But here and now is what today is about. I came out of my bed so that I can draw in a cafe. And I felt restful. And strong. And beautiful. 

 

I don’t have answers on how to live this life, on how people should treat me, what’s the right way to treat us, or how we should be represented in media. But I think it’s important to try and to at least show that there are different ways, that there are different narratives than the one we are being given. 

Thank you for taking the time to look through this (ongoing) body of work.

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