claim your creature self

Collection Shown at Bent On Art Fest Queer Trans Group Exhibition on Sinixt Territory

artist statement

The series ‘claim your creature self ’, is a visual exploration of queerness and its relationship to Self along with its process of interconnectivity. Queerness is the embodiment of a nonconforming lifeforce pushing through the barriers that try to suffocate it. It is a radical resistance that refuses to be silenced in its wild beauty. Queerness is a soft place in your heart where you can finally rest and feel held.

 

Each image in this series embodies the process of coming into a deeper understanding of self, beyond the labels imposed upon us. The expectations and judgements of this toxic society, silence our wild selves: the selves that do not fit into boxes, the ones that are expansive and forever fluid, the selves that are beautiful even when the world tells you they are not. This series weaves together a story of the necessary inner deaths that must occur for our true selves to be birthed. What doubts and fears must die inside of ourselves in order  to grow and evolve into the beautiful, weird, freaky creature that we are? How do we dispel the twisted stories that society tells us and how do we support each other through this process? These are all questions I muse as I continue to claim my creature self.

 

The symbolism within these images is inspired by my own journey of unravelling the illusions embedded in my body through the years of cruel whispers from society. The process of death becomes the focus of this exploration as an attempt to revive the ceremonial aspects of dying. We fear death in this society, but death can become a stunning process of breaking open into fullness when it is nurtured. We can recognize these deaths as a necessary process in becoming the truest versions of ourselves. The two masked creatures on either side are adorned in burial shrouds representing these inner deaths and the beauty that comes in their wake. The plants can become our greatest supports and most wonderful teachers of unconditional love. California poppy, wild rose, yarrow, sagebrush and cedar are all supportive factors that can ease the pain and grief of breaking open. The adornments that are wrapped around these creatures are inspired by a deep connection to my Sami ancestry. Claiming ancestry and coming into deeper relationship with their ancient ways has fuelled a profound understanding of what my wild and free inner creature yearns for—to belong somewhere, to feel connected to something beyond oneself. This sense of belonging (belonging within community and belonging within one’s own body) acts as a light that guides the way as we walk through our pain, our trauma and our shadows. The black threads are meant to tie this story together by connecting our own individual process to the greater processes happening within the world. We cannot live without community. We need mutually supportive relationships where being vulnerable is safe. It is this black thread that connects us and reminds us that we are not alone in our journeys of uncovering our creature selves.