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INTERVIEW
Nihilalia

In this interview conducted by Randall Morris the artist Bea Kwan Lim discusses the inspirations behind her numinous creations including dreams, synaesthesia and William Blake. 

I first met the artist Bea Kwan Lim when she walked into my gallery, Cavin-Morris. At first I had no idea who she was. An intriguing and voluptuously mysterious drawing of hers had been chosen by John Zorn and me to be part of the Obsessions Collective group show.

She was present and non-present in a very ethereal sense. I could probably count the times there was direct eye contact on one hand. She was the shyest and most self-effacing person I think I have ever met. But ten words into a conversation with her, her old soul was revealed and resonant and the depth of her perceptions about art in all forms at such a young age was deeply evident.

She is a decadent jewel box that rewards those who can access the contents. That night started a friendship that opened the path to this interview.

My speciality is the kind of art whose intentionalities often fall outside the mainstream. Bea’s work is contemporary and relevant yet she gets to that place by travelling a visionary path that has nothing to do with art-world canons. It is work informed by the natural and the numinous.

 

I heard you refer to Blake the other day. Has he influenced your vision?

First I must state that language doesn’t have much of a place in my created world. It is not a tool or ally in the way that William Blake used it on a par with the visual to create total illuminations. Unlike Blake, I have difficulty understanding human universals and I don’t have his ageless eloquence to communicate through creation and imagination as he did so resonantly with Dante, Milton, the Bible, his time and beyond. I feel enormous personal consolation from his complex works, especially in Visions of the Daughters of Albion and Songs of Innocence and of Experience. However, it is unjustified for me to say that I think or dream in his manner, even if there are surface elements resembling his work, such as protection, suffering, minute contraries, the angelic and demonic. My drawings are living fragments in a growing world that will never be whole. They are born of a primordial and speechless ‘first world’.

That said, my own dreams are always ‘comminglings from the head even to the feet’ with memories, the phantasmal, and waking life because my eyes always look for unusual sights in every little crevice. My experiences with strange fauna and flora from my childhood in Malaysia helped me cultivate a living inner world that has always been a necessary safe haven. For me this is a closed-off realm that resists and even denies human civilisation and judgement. My dreams and visions of this world are more concerned with the nature that will survive us.

Bea Kwan Lim, Embryalist, 2010. Ash, burnt candle wicks, charcoal, ink, handmade watercolour and wax on paper. 183 x 91cm.

An experience that gave me confirmation was a family visit to Penang’s Buddhist and Hindu places of worship when I was around the age of five. Many were crowded and noisy but there was one Buddhist temple that was absolutely quiet. I have not searched for any pictures of the temple because I wish to preserve my vision. I remember stepping in and the space feeling so pure, red and placid. Before this, I never felt such a trance-like pull from silence. I hadn’t noticed that my family did not come into the space with me at all. I suddenly caught sight of bright green and black pit vipers gracefully swaying and hugging the contours of a tall, wooden branch-like pedestal. The paralysing beauty of this contrasted situation was that it split apart the thought of judging the serpents instinctively by dominant animal images of evil. Of course, I was disappointed to be taken away from this unusual solace by my (probably justifiably) scared family.

My visions and dreams always begin drawn from this essence of transfixion and from there they unfold, layer and transform rather violently.

That temple was a primal awakening . . . are your interpretations of it drawn from your own spiritual vocabulary or are they informed by any disciplines? You name Nature as your sometimes violent muse, but does something inform Nature for you? Did the viper become a soul-familiar?

I have always felt a large disconnect from my corporeality and how it relates to the peopled world. Growing up in Malaysia, I was constantly surrounded by at least five different languages and adherents of Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism and other beliefs. This confused me so much that I did not begin to speak until I was four or five years old. I am sure my roots are thoroughly marinated and cooked in this intensely spiced stew, but this made me long for a certain quietness. The experience at the temple was my first extreme confirmation that this could exist. I eventually found my way of invoking that trance through meditation and drawing.

Dreams and experience have taught me to contemplate the different shades of violence from growth, flight-or-fight danger to wrathful compassion. I use a ghostlike vocabulary rooted in memories of playing with and beholding nature: observing day after day the way swallows build their nests, the growth of tadpoles, sleep patterns of fruit bats, strange ferns that would shrink and darken upon touch, the pulsating of ant nests, the excitement and danger of staring at and being stared by a monitor lizard bigger than my six-year-old body . . . I always felt a need to make these magical moments continue and envelope me as long as possible. However, my family’s sudden move to San Francisco cut me off from the tangible paradise of tropical nature I had in Malaysia. Despite the smog and constant construction, it seems tropical life refuses to be wrangled and cordoned off. To not even see an ant on the pavement was unthinkable and this absence of constant animal life was a shock for me in San Francisco, where wild nature is mostly tidily kept apart, in well-preserved areas. Being suddenly so close to the water and the foreignness in this new city were catalysts to develop a fortress-like realm of inner fabricated nature. It got to such a point that the original creatures and plants that gave my shelled realm so much joy and wonder became distant sparkling fossils of memory. Malaysia itself is no longer magical to me, either. Instead, my imagined chimeras from equally blossomed dreamt worlds became most natural, apparent and close to me.

As much as I try to study the past and present, the theories, techniques and systems don’t seem to reach me definitively, at least they have not yet. At times I try to focus on poetry, stories and mythology as preliminary skeletons, but the drawings often seem to tear themselves away so much that they would do injustice to those original sources. Everything comes to me from long distances and I have always been a slow student. But I am always a willing empirical learner. I have come to call this my constant neophyte’s nature and I usually pay for it more than benefit, but it allows me to observe and mine out many minute details.

Bea Kwan Lim, Animus Inviolabilis, 2012. Colour pencil, glass and stone beads, graphite, handmade watercolour, ink on paper, 76.2 x 111.8 cm.

Detail from Animus Inviolabilis.

Detail from Animus Inviolabilis.

The economy of language and symbols can often box ideas rigidly and this betrays my need of the expansive ephemeral state: the constant shifting and transformation of meaning and form. I have only recently begun to make recognisable animals intertwined in the drawings, and they are like small translators coming out of the veil for the outside to see. The significance of the snakes in the temple only reached me in the past year as I made a few drawings with the animal prominently featured. Rather than a servant or tool for me, the serpent is like a being with qualities I aspire towards in my drawing and learning. Snakes have extreme precision in sense, defending and attacking. I am also fascinated by the cases where they tackle prey far larger than they can handle and die in the process of digesting it. I have used serpentine forms to portray a pure, piercing instinct to learn; in that one is voracious to discover different facets of a subject with emphasis on the painful, bleeding core. These difficult-to-look-at aspects and details reveal raw truths and thus increase understanding and empathy.

Every time you describe something it seems to involve synaesthesia of some kind, experience amalgamated into a multi-planed narrative. It makes me wonder: for you, does the artwork record an experience or is the drawing the experience itself? Does the drawing retain its mana after completion or is it the immersion into the process of making it that has most importance for you? Or both? Are the drawings acts of exorcism or the opposite, the gathering in to yourself of chthonic or numinous knowledge?

Yes, I would say they come from an act of exorcism and the space that is made after the fact lets in quiet and low whispers of the chthonic and numinous which then need to be ingested, taken apart and forced out through drawing, again and again. I treat the drawings as beings and emanations I draw from myself and attempt to form them on the surface. Preliminary visions come forth but they are quickly assassinated and the corpse dreams and transforms into something else that I don’t feel a lot of control over. An example from nature this process resonates with is the abyssal whale falls. This is a phenomenon where a whale carcass sinks to the harsh environment of the ocean floor and creates ecosystems in which many species can feed for what can be decades. There is much tearing, devouring and biological movement fought for, nourishingly layered and buried into these drawings. So in a way, every drawing feels like a coeval struggle to make life, destroy and also to protect. Breathing, throbbing fossils.

Certain drawings I could work on for ever, but when the very human part of me is drained and starts to feel distance from the being, I stop the drawing. After that, I usually cannot tap into the blood-trance of that specific being’s experience again. The cosmography of the drawing cuts me off and there are sensations of revulsion. It’s hard for me to understand how others see them. I used to become very upset when people peered at my drawings because I felt that other eyes would violate the world of these intricate prayers, yet at the same time I wanted to guard others from seeing them as they were too malevolent in aura and appearance.

Bea Kwan Lim, The Splitting and Renovation of a Charmed Vessel, 2013. Ash, colour pencil, handmade watercolour, gouache, graphite and ink on paper, 76.2 x 111.8 cm.

I am slowly developing a sort of trance-like practice in my drawings that I call nihilalia. While glossolalia is a cathartic release that vocalises the sacred, giving language to the spirit, nihilalia projects deafening silences that instead swallow and annihilate utterance and language to make room for the fragile, hidden and quiet sacred. Nihilalia for me also correlates to the way we are speechless to the world of nature, no matter how tenderly and beautifully detailed a physical function has become through evolution or how horrifyingly a natural process such as a hurricane can devastate human lives, communities and cycles of life. Nihilalia can also be an ominous reminder of our place as we are just tiny grains in the eyes of the totality of existence, the observable universe and what lies beyond that.

 

I like the idea of familiars, and the conscious poetically occult acuity of their presences in the city where you have had to recreate nature – can you comment on this?

The San Francisco bay opens to the Pacific Ocean and its replenishing, salty scent is carried throughout the city by wind and fog, even as one passes through the grimiest side streets. I think my realms took a more ephemeral, expansive and less recognisable shape from the ocean’s influence. The overpowering movement of the water and its ability to sustain delicate creatures share many attributes with my thought processes and thus the drawings. Strange creatures like the crucial oceanic food source, plankton help to expand the vision of my realm in touch with a sort of world-source. I suppose the animal-familiar becomes a familiar-environment too. In a way I see the oceans as a visceral yet celestial blanket that connects my experience with the occurrences in that body of water. Once wrapped in this blanket, it allows me to fluidly dream and meditate about different environments, envisioning the consuming of fauna and flora, experience, growth, evolution and extinction. Giving certainty to them dissolves and destroys their subtle, hidden constitutions, just like waking from a heavily involved dream. I hope you will indulge my drifting ruminations on oceanic phenomena and my imagined realms to suggest constellations of forms and processes in the drawings:

In varying degrees, human communities coexist with, contribute to, harvest from and desecrate the ocean and its bounty. Even with technological advances, we cannot physically survive in that mysterious environment. In a way it is our closest forbidden and unknown realm. Some of the most ancient species of fish and invertebrates live in the deepest, harshest regions of the ocean and on strange occasions they swim upwards and closer to the shallows, skirting our realm. As they do this, their bodies become extremely frail, they even lose their original resplendent colours and they ultimately cannot survive.

There is an exquisitely delicate yet dangerous deep-sea invertebrate that exemplifies this called the praya dubia or giant siphonophore. They look like a gossamer and glistening serpent with a hanging veil of jewelled bells and thick feathers with stinging cells that can inflict paralysis or death. Longer than blue whales, and with thread-like tendrils as weapons, this is quite an eerie creature to fathom. Yet they are so delicate and sensitive to pressure change and certain stimuli that when praya dubia reach the water’s surface or bright light is shone upon them, they often shatter, like silk, into shreds.

According to the book of Genesis, the firmament was the solid sky of the heavens created to separate the waters above the earth (the clouds) from the waters below. As Giordano Bruno and other explorers of the sciences demonstrated, this limited ‘firmament’ does not exist. Instead he concluded, as Taoists, animists and shamans have done in different ways, that divinity is a quality latent in all living things, making it truly infinite. I believe in multiple realms and that the heavens must be something far more complex and vital than a dense vault-like layer above us. If the biblical firmament must expand outward from the earth, it would have to include the stars, the observable and non-observable universe far beyond us. In the sixty-metre-long bas-relief depicting Yama’s judgement of the dead located at the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, the depiction of Hell survived in deeply carved, painful detail, but Heaven was sublimely deteriorated by centuries of natural damage. Even nature shows us signs that the firmament is unfathomable and unfinished. In my imagined bestiary and mutable realm, the oceans are the firmament reflected, and thus marine life is the delicate shadows and rippled reflections of celestial beings. When they are brought towards us in the earthy realm, like the praya dubia, they perish. I believe this environment records the scars of the chthonic and the past and reflects the future as well. There are studies suggesting that the shell-dissolving of planktonic sea butterflies shows us the first signs of increase in ocean acidification. Jellyfish, the top predator of primordial times, are increasing in their blooms. We find sunken artefacts, and ships of war, trade and exploration from the near and distant pasts. The scars show evidence of the world’s movements and changes through tectonics. Our planet is truly a place that blossoms and bleeds different worlds from its wounds. I am fascinated and transfixed by this living blood that comes to us from all different ages at once.

Your description of nihilalia really touches again upon my synaesthesia question. I get a very musical hit from it, especially when one considers some music as a strategic use of calculated silences; we know silence can also be spontaneous and accidental. You have had interesting interactions in your life with music and musicians: can you elaborate on how your experience with drones and musical minimalism, both with composers and the music itself, tap into this?

During 2008−9, while I was living in New York, I worked briefly as a studio assistant to the pioneering composer La Monte Young and the artist Marian Zazeela. The experience taught me about ritual and consciousness. I meticulously cared for plants, was surrounded by Zazeela’s naturally calligraphic handwriting – which had a contagious influence on me to write as beautifully as possible – watched over their Dream House environment exhibition of drone frequencies and magenta light sculptures, and attended the rehearsals and concerts of Young’s Just Alap Raga Ensemble, which meant constantly being immersed in tambura drones. Importantly, during this extremely short, intense period under Young and Zazeela, I was introduced and submerged into learning raga singing myself. They had devoted themselves to the art through their discipleship with the great raga singer Pandit Pran Nath of the Kirana Gharana, a Northern Indian classical lineage of singing. Pandit Pran Nath emphasised slow, explorative openings of his ragas in order to reach precise, seamless transitions of intonation, feeling and powerful range resulting in a mesmerising and transcendent quality. Though I cannot justifiably say I am a student or singer, the experience of my voice reverberating and resonating within my body and simultaneously with the drone when the intonation matched was profound. For someone so disconnected as myself, I felt a rare physical connection to the world was possible through this practice.

Northern Indian ragas have designated times of day and night in which to be performed, with narrative connections to Hindu mythology invoking specific moods. A particularly resonant raga that I learned was one to be performed at midnight and continue on through the depths of night, called Raga Malkauns. Malkauns is an amalgamated word that translates to ‘he who wears serpent garlands’, referring to Shiva. The dangerous nature of this introspective raga is said to have evolved from Shiva’s destructive ṇḍava dance and thus concerns the conquering, destruction and renewal of self. A connecting belief is that the darkly shaded raga was created by his wife, Parvati, in order to calm Shiva’s rage during his violence of the ṇḍava dance after Sati, the previous incarnation of Parvati, tragically sacrifices herself.

For me, there is a difference between drone, minimalism and silence. In a way I feel that true silence is only attainable through connections with imagination, but worth striving for in waking life. Even if it may appear so at first, there is nothing minimal about the spheres of constant, living action and response found in drone and raga. There is a lifetime of uncompromising exploration, struggle, growth and perfection in the devoted spiritual and physical practice of raga. I have tried to continue these resonant qualities from drone in my drawing practice and there is always a cathartic breaking, which does occur in raga. It was enlightening to be immersed in this ritual practice where one is their own perpetual source for renewal. I consider raga my formal introduction to the realisation of invocation and incantation.

Bea Kwan Lim, Awakening of a Virgoan Neophyte, 2010. Chalk, charcoal, graphite, pastel, handmade watercolour on paper, 183 x 91cm.

How do you relate the concepts of the sounds to your work?

I consider mantic dreams of trauma and their fulfilled experiences to be the seeds and charnel grounds of creation. If these dreams and experiences are dealt with through creation and art, the blood from the wounds turns into amber, pearls, soil and flowers. The slow, meticulous weaving and bandaging gestures I learned from raga seem to go straight to my core and unveil all possibilities and details, to understand them on an intimate level. Voice, like drawing, is one of man’s primal vehicles of expression. One of the most beautiful things I learned with singing was the slow-blooming nature of harmony with another, larger sustained sound, and I extended my vocal range and thus perception. Hearing these explorative voices from recordings of Pandit Pran Nath and the lessons in raga from Young and Zazeela, I could not help but think that these beautiful resonances were like drawing forth empathetic gifts of the body.

It reminds me of the merciful nature of the bodhisattva Kuan Shi Yin, the Chinese Buddhist form of Avalokitesvara. In a childish way, I thought that her ‘Kuan’ and the ‘Kwan’ from my name were alike. ‘Kuan Shi Yin’ is formally interpreted as ‘the one who hears the cries of the world’. I took this on as a precept for living: trying to listen and observe the tiny plants, animals and thoughts often overlooked by the majority of people. I thought that perhaps with my ability to draw I could absorb those details and give these more delicate cries some space in the world. Along with the space given from nihilalia, I thought that I could feed these beings by envisioning experiences of myself transmuted into a chimeric and verdant fruiting body. In the drawings, petals sometimes become the peeling of flesh, flowers become beds that drain old bodies and infuse new essence, shells become grotesque horns and bones of recorded experience, skin connects these elements like veils of different colours.

At the age of eighteen, I began research on the Buddhist stories of gift-of-the-body, the fragility of divine figures and reincarnation. The Jataka tales of the previous incarnations of Shakyamuni Buddha are always a source of inspiration in their examples of enthusiastic bodily sacrifice. In one lifetime, Shakyamuni is a rabbit that leaps into a fire to provide sustenance to an ascetic. In another, he is an ascetic who willingly sacrifices his body to a starving tigress and her children. In one life as a king, he gives his eyes to a blind man. In yet another life as a king he transforms himself into a gigantic fish that feeds his country’s people. All the benevolent sacrifice of the flesh will be kept alive through those who knowingly digest it. A bodhisattvan chain. In fact there are tales of wrongly executed people whose bones were later found linked together by golden chains: the sign of a bodhisattva.

Bea Kwan Lim, Sehnsucht, 2012. Colour pencil, graphite, handmade watercolour on paper, 78.7 x 58.4 cm.

However, in this modern world consisting of puzzling traps of needs and wants on massive scales, it is still difficult to make these subtle gifts productive and edible. The translation of this kind of spiritual gift and meditation is often seen as laughable, and this has sometimes led to devastating disillusion. During the frustration, I sometimes feel a disturbing pleasure seeing these violent, devouring commotions on the paper. A few years later, I made a striking find through the title of Yukio Mishima’s final novel, Tennin Gosui or as it was translated, The Decay of the Angel. There are five symptoms of decline in a ‘heavenly being’ found in Buddhist scriptures. I sifted through different sources mentioning these symptoms in several languages to find that they were not necessarily referring to the Buddhist equivalent of an angel but more a being between humanity and an enlightened bodhisattva: a deva. Each stage of decay is a sufferingly ephemeral yet physical sign of the deva falling away from the path towards enlightenment until the last symptom: ‘It becomes dissatisfied with its position in the heavens.’ Instead of a fatal end or failure, I saw this as a departure from a system to pursue a more personal way of meditating. In my obscured view, Kuan Yin’s rejection of Buddhahood to stay and listen to suffering on earth was a constructive rebellion against this system (which does in fact, embrace such defiance). My first confident drawings were a series depicting these decays.

 

From conversations with you in the past, I have noticed that you veer back and forth between the extremes of minimalism and maximalism – both are integral to what you do and who you are. There is a fascinating tension there that makes me wonder how you translate them to your methods . . .

Those two words are foreign to me because they seem unrealistically static. With minimalism in painting, I can’t help but consider the tiny particles of pigment, the properties of the medium binding the paint to the endless woven fibres of the surface making a supposedly stripped-down image. With maximalism, I can’t help but contemplate a sense of total annihilation and dissolving when seeing so many details flood an entire plane, not unlike the flights of bat colonies that form massive dark clouds, devouring hundreds of thousands of kilograms of insects a night. For me, the two ideas are interchangeable and closely connected sensations because of the way they obscure the senses. I aspire to translate a gamut of these formations and dissolutions in the drawings.

Most of the watercolour paint I use I make from ground pigments and mediums, sometimes using materials like different kinds of ash and ground glass and stones as pigment. I always choose paper that feels like skin. My main method in drawing has always been cycles of layering as the process often resembles biological processes: moulting skin, tearing, digesting, immolation, applying ointment, healing. This becomes an accumulation of experience between the drawn creatures and myself to conceal and illuminate.

 

I have also noticed that you constantly reference film, literature, and often highly symbolist as well as grimoiresque arts. Obviously this all feeds you, yet your work does not directly quote anything, which means there is a place in your process that engulfs the work – using your snake imagery – and then strips it down to Bea Kwan Lim atmospheric imagery . . . Do you agree with this?

I’ve always been the type of person who could not bear when the protagonist in a story has to return to ‘real life’ and dismiss the world of magic and fairy tales as a fantasy they could not sustain. Other worlds are vital to me and they are alive in artistic mediums. There is a very magical goal in symbolism that I am concerned with, and that is the manifestation of subtle differences between the hidden and the invisible. One of my most beloved symbolists is Fernand Khnopff, whose works are haunting emanations; the original subtle subjects of women and abandoned places are burnt out into mesmerising ghosts. His works are not delicate drawings on paper, or painted canvases, but the rare, entrancing blue flame of man-made enigma. With the symbolists, I revel in the migrations and transformations of their reveries in lawless territories: feathered, longing touches that are too gently and curiously erotic to be merely sexual, forms that are too diaphanous yet inexplicably omniscient and perpetual, slowly suffered tensions that result in delusions of catharsis. At my most confident, I have an inner Scriabinesque obsession that I can not only remake paradise by my own hand from these broken shells and fossils, but that I can also annihilate traumatic experiences. The most arrogant part of this act is that I feel I can then return to this newly renovated garden of innocence and inexperience like Blake’s Thel.

From my observation, most symbolist art comes from the perspective of conjurers and magi who become their own captivated audience to the magical chimeras they bring forth. I have nothing against that; in fact, I often admire and sometimes feel jealous of people with this understanding and control. It is difficult for me to have an overarching point of view as I think I lack the skills of a composer. I always feel as though I am compelled – nescient yet willing – to be the living material, unaware of what fires it is traipsing into and what sacrifice and change will come to be. Perhaps this is why I don’t have a full sense of the spatial relation between my physical self and my works: I often end them feeling revulsion, as though I am seeing an intimate organ of mine displayed on a pedestal, garnished with flowers. I should look toward my serpentine familiar and see these past creations as moulted shells of old skin, thus stages of transformation.

I get impatient with some of the canned archetypes of the feminine (and thus the masculine) in symbolism. There are only so many reiterations of grinning, gluttonous Salomes and pristinely drowned Ophelias I can take before I become alienated by the lack of intimate interpretation. In my process, making drawings that have any highly figural, peopled narrative aspects is temptation away from true focus and a longing for the defined and material. The human part of me would like to be able to communicate directly with that kind of narrative work. I would certainly feel more social and historical gratification if I focused on that, but spiritually I feel absolutely nothing when I adhere to that kind of framework. There is an eldritch force lurking that needs to be fed in order to cauterise experiences of the past. The promise of reward is far away, but worthwhile.

Bea Kwan Lim, Nectar of a Sacred Beast, 2012. Colour pencil, graphite, handmade watercolour, ink on paper. 76.2 x 111.8 cm.

Detail from Nectar of a Sacred Beast.

Detail from Nectar of a Sacred Beast.

Still, there is a pure longing to connect with the world. I believe there is a way to sing to our personal histories, to ancient history, and even the strains of suffering from the past, which we hear through subtle whispers, as if the more subtle and delicate the echoes, the more details and hidden cries they can resonate with and reveal within us. Along with ancient art found all over the world, I look up to masters who clearly communicate through the memory of personal, historical and mythic tragedy: the two French writers Marguerite Duras and Marguerite Yourcenar and the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis. All three draw from the most abyssal wells, rewitnessing all the volatile reflections of personal, unspeakable experience and then drinking that thick, burning nectar, and it heals others because these artists are unafraid to whisper or scream of the most personal pain and injustices. It’s a beautiful, extremely confrontational form of channelling I am meagrely striving towards.

I think it is important to have works of art that remind us of our fragility and that tragedies of destruction, private and mass-scale, recur. It is not unlike Aeneas crying as he gazes at a mural depicting the war that made him a refugee, realising that the universe understands this pain as well and that we are not alone because we can expect compassion through history, nature and mythology. Virgil’s lacrimae rerum.

 

Where do you need to go as an artist?

My neophyte’s nature that I mentioned earlier is a sheltering armour, and simultaneously an overprotective, neotenic behaviour. It knows that something innate can be harmed if it allows certain outside ideas and images to flow in, and also if it allows others to see its forms so defined. In a way, it is like the shame in revealing scars and wounds: you don’t show them off like a laundry list. I would like to find a balance between preserving this fragility and reaching outside this isolated realm to mythology for nourishment.

What I know is that I need to create more drawings and be less afraid to do so. I am working on drawings relating to the Mahavidya goddesses as I find excitement in their extreme shifting moods and forms. I am also planning an artist’s book concerning the trials of Psyche. Lastly, I hope to fulfil an old dream of learning skills in jewellery-making this year.

Returning to the oceanic imagery, I feel I have to choose between rising closer to the shallows near earthly, figural definition or to go further down the realms of the undefined. As an empirical neophyte, I must take the risk and plunge into all these experiences to break and shed this current skin.

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