It all started with a conversation that Chani and I had in an interview. You may have even heard us chatting.
We were speaking about the differences between teaching art to boys and girls.
Discussing how Boys had this macho attitude and girls, on the other hand, are usually insecure about their work.
Even though my young male students were typically messier and paid less attention to detail than my young female students, the boys would speak as if they owned the world.
“Look at my painting! I’m an artist,” and another would chime in, “Mine is better than yours! Look how great I am!” The girls would look at each other’s paintings and say, “your painting is so good! I don’t like mine.”
Chani and I discussed the reasons why these insecurities existed.
Chani decided to explore the self-image topic in the UPLIFT magazine.
We started brainstorming ideas about what painting would convey this lack of confidence in self-image?
Chani asked me, “When you look in the mirror, are you happy with what you see? Do you sit there and judge yourself? Where do you think you learned this behaviour? Do you believe that you passed on the same feelings to your daughters? How can we change this conversation for the future? She wanted something with a broken mirror but no pictures of women. I felt I could convey this message by showing a reflection of a woman covering her face in shame. The shards of glass in the mirror distort the image. Just as we cut through our self-confidence when we become so critical of ourselves.
Although the painting conveyed the issue of shame, this magazine is called, The Uplift Magazine, and this was not uplifting.
Again, Chani and I had another conversation using the mirrors. This time I decided to make a painting that acknowledged these thoughts of discontent but reminded us that we had the choice to see ourselves the way we would like to be seen.
Again trying to keep the images slightly abstract with more detail, I wanted the woman to look in the mirror and see three different reflections. Two images of how she views herself and one Image of reality. She is reaching out to herself in comfort. And the lipstick heart drawn on the mirror reminds us to show ourselves love and kindness.
We addressed the issues we wanted to discuss in the magazine, but we still needed something more “uplifting” for the front cover. One of the questions of where this may come from was, “are we passing on these body image issues to our daughters?” Even though Chani asked for just a mirror for the front cover, I felt that the only way to convey a mirror as a mirror (in a painting) is if it reflects something. I chose an empty room, just as our bodies are empty vessels. We have a choice to fill our bodies with what we like. I decided to reflect on an empty room filled with light pouring in from the two windows with a painting of a mother and daughter running free along the beach. The daughter holds onto her mother with one hand and a tambourine in the other, further symbolizing this freedom. We have the answers within ourselves, and we can always change the narrative.