WHAT YOU DID, 2017
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
24" x 36"
What You Did is in response to toxic feelings I had towards relationships, men, and social media. I felt like as a woman my appearance and sexuality is constantly scrutinized. As a teen going into adulthood I worked tirelessly to hold on to my virtue, sanity, and faith in God. It seems like every action I make is always in question. From the way I dress, walk, speak, carry myself, even paint! To rebel I would always try my best to go against the grain, but as I have gotten older the rebellion is just as tiring as conforming.
Full of symbolism, this painting illustrates what the world's opinions have done to my heart, soul, and physical body:
- The background was originally a painting of my grandmother.
A God fearing woman who once worldly attitude resulted in my mother's birth, and subsequently my existence. She hated the painting and thought it did not look like her because it was her in her rawest
form. Not young beautiful, dressed to impress, but as an old lady in
a sundress with a stale face. It showed her as a hard working woman, who had a hard life, who took a moment of rest. Little did she know and understand that that is how I saw her in that moment, always working to make sure that her daughter and grandchildren were happy and needed for nothing. I saw that as a positive. But her guilt imposed by outside forces made her see her transgressions leading her to this harder life. She became my background, because I am a product of her decisions. But her firm belief in God is the backbone and reason for my trust in the Lord.
- The camera in the top right corner is representative of the media's constant eye on me. Always watching to see whether or not I fold under pressure.
- The blue hands are the hands of man trying to take whatever they
can from me. The blue hands cutting the chastity belt illustrates my virginity being taken. My strong beliefs in chastity were broken out
of pressure to please someone I loved and to hush the lips of those around me. As a young adult, keeping your virginity until marriage
was not "cool.
- Although my heart appears to be poisoned by outsiders of the past,
I still try my hardest to protect it from those of the future.
- The woman on my mind depicts the constant thought of who I think I should be.
- My missing mouth represents my lack of the ability to say how I should be perceived.
- Surrounding me are light white illustrations of what the community expects me to look like. The curves, the flowing hair.
- The foreground colored woman and afro are my reality. That I hold
my "crown" proudly because it is what I am given by God. I am a child of God hence his halo and presence behind my head. I am made in his image. In the end. I should be proud of who I am. What was said to me and done to me through the years are what made me into the person
I am today. My journey is what defined me.
This painting is not just accusation and to bring attention to the power an individual has over another life, but it brought me to an inner peace that the decisions I made in response to others, are due to my weakness of mind and became the author of my self development.