I've found that it's of some help to think of one's moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather. Here are some obvious things about the weather: It's real. You can't change it by wishing it away. If it's dark and rainy, it really is dark and rainy, and you can't alter it. It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row. BUT It will be sunny one day. It isn't under one's control when the sun comes out, but come out it will. One day. - Stephen Fry
Never has this Stephen Fry’s quote resonated to me more than now and, especially, in the past year. With many uncertainties and setbacks. The ‘stormy and rainy days’ were frequent and, at times, relentless. Indeed the rain would pass, the darkness would shift, it would be sunny again, but before I knew it, the storm would come.
Surrounded by the sound of rain, I often retreated to reflective solitude. There I was, confronted with my own vulnerability. I tried to set it aside and quiet it down, but, with the pandemic pause, there were not enough hustle-and-bustle of the day to drown it. Perhaps, it was the first time I truly listened to myself –to my vulnerability.
Last year, I planned to embark on creating a new artwork series, but the setbacks ensued as the pandemic struck stopped me at my track. The epiphany on vulnerability has prompted me to revisit the envisaged series of my new artwork project in a different light and focus.
Many people are experiencing mental health setback due to the current pandemic and restrictions. One of the possible causes is the uncertainty of the future, which makes many of us feel vulnerable and exposed. As someone with lived-in experience, in supporting and raising awareness of mental health disorder, it is therefore fitting that Vulnerable is the focal theme of my new artwork series.
Prior to embarking on creative development, it was crucial for me to conduct a foundational work exploring the meaning and nuances of vulnerability and establishing a methodology, a framework from the exploration. The foundational work was completed today, January, 25th evening with paths set for the next stage for further development.
Admittedly, it was not a straight forward, nor it was a linear process. It was difficult at the beginning; mainly because I was doubting myself and was so often stuck because I emphasized defining vulnerability intellectually, detaching myself from it in a bird’s eye view way that I avoided putting in my heart. Only when I started exploring wholeheartedly that the foundational work truly gained momentum.
Did I achieve what I set out to do? Yes, I did, but not in the way that I had initially envisaged it. My exploration and the foundational journey turned into a dive into the meaning and value of authenticity and acceptance of the impermanence.
This foundational work has not only set the core and the heart of a new art series journey but a voyage of a renewed art direction and unrelenting radical acceptance of the vulnerable, authentic self. To me, that is when art can truly flourish.
I shall share more update on my new artwork series at the next development stage.
My sincere gratitude to Moonee Valley City Council (MVCC) in granting me the COVID-19 Art Recovery Grant late last year to conduct this Foundational Work towards the creation of new artwork series “Vulnerable”. MVCC’s community recovery grant scheme has supported many local community groups, businesses, and artists to bounce back from the setback brought on by the pandemic. In my case, MVCC’s support and belief on the project have indeed made the difference and given me the push (and accountability) to pursue this endeavour. Thank you.