When being black, female and sensitive just gets too much…

Earlier I went to the South London Gallery in Peckham to visit their current exhibition ‘The place is here’. It’s actually a decent exhibition with a collection of videos, photographs, mixed media pieces and archives relating to prominent black British art and artists in the 1980’s and 1990’s, at the time of Afrocentrism and riots.

I was there for a fair bit as I wanted to really get a sense of the space and the content. [context – I used to study black British art of this particular period as part of my history of art degree at SOAS…SOAS represent!! 🙌🏾]

There were artists I knew of like Eddie Chambers, Kieth Piper, Sonya Boyce, Mona Hatoum and Rasheed Araeen. So it was great to see their works close up! Although it didn’t help that when I arrived staff there decided to walk up near me and randomly have a convo about their personal life, like ‘Hello? I’m trying to engage with this video, not your life!’

I digress.

It was after when I exited the gallery that a very panic-stricken woman came up to me whilst I was texting on my phone and asked for money.

I usually just say sorry and keep going (keeping it real here). But she caught my attention so much I couldn’t ignore her.

She was in a right state. She begged for £6 to help her pay her council tax bill as well as food for her children. “I”m suicidal! I tried to take my life earlier. I had to have sex to buy this [points to her carrier bag with a bread loaf in it], and he cummed in me and I have to get tested for AIDS now [and a lot more rambling that I couldn’t figure out because she was distressed]… I’m suicidal, I’m going to kill myself!!”

Wow.

“Don’t do that please”, I firmly said because who knows? She was that manic, that she may have just jumped in the road.

“Look at my feet, they’re all dirty… [mumbling again that I couldn’t make out as she was distressed]” She then took off her right shoe and revealed some dutty feet.

“It’s okay, you don’t need to do that” – This is going far now.

I gave her £2 in the end – “no I need £6” – I still gave her 2 quid and she was off.

Walking up to my bus stop, I was a mixed bag of emotions – what should I have done? Should I have just said sorry and walked away? Should I have googled a helpline for her? Should I have said “Everything is gunna be alright”. This lady looked Caribbean and distressed and I really felt for her but I still felt like I was being conned. But then, I just got out of an exhibition all about the struggles of British black people in the U.K. especially London, and here I am confronted by a real life example. I couldn’t help but to do something for my British black women community. But still.

I just felt helpless.

I knew my money probably didn’t go to her bills, but then this woman doesn’t need money. She needs a support system. People who have her back. People who can help her and won’t oppress her for having brown skin and curly Afro-Caribbean hair, for having outspoken opinions and a different form of banter. She may have had a history of mental health problems or just the struggle to have basic human rights is what made her this way. I don’t know. All I know is this shit ain’t right. And yes it’s upsetting. Today I really felt all the troubles and frustrations that people with brown skin have to endure in London. Sometimes it gets to me more than others and I do have a heavy heart…This shit ain’t right…

 

What would you do?

 

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100 days – DONE

Finally after 100 days (originally 100 consecutive days) I have completed my little project #100daysofminicreations!!!

My main intentions for this project were to:

  1. maintain consistency and regularity
  2. continue exploration of artwork, and to
  3. capture a highlight or feeling of the day.

Link to my blog post – “100 days of mini creations!” in August 2016.

Did I do that overall?

  1. yes, somewhat (it’s a marathon not a race)
  2. yes, for sure
  3. yes.

Apart from the checklists, the start of this project was really a pivotal moment for me in my life. It was the start of my public art life.

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I have always been ‘into’ art and have always appreciated it – my family and friends will tell you so, but it wasn’t until this time that I made an active decision to make myself known to the world as an artist. Prior to that I was too afraid,  I had a lot of self-doubt about labelling myself as an artist, the pressure, the self-criticism (and still have, a little – I’m human right?) about my abilities, not being good enough or if I should just stick to the grind of a ‘proper job’.

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But, you know what, I’m glad I quit my full-time job. I took a major risk, and became unemployed for 2 months (scary), but I don’t have regrets and I already feel in a much better head space for it. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have randomly done this project.

It was a really good chunk of time for me to really reflect and digest the ebbs and flows of my movements, my thought processes, who I am as an artist, who I am as an introverted private person and a contributor to social media, the power I have to influence people, what mini creations were more popular than others and why, what I did when I thought ‘nah i’ll do it next time’, what opportunities I got out of it (which I did get some!), the wonderful support and positivity I got from people, the people I know who really were loyal. For me mostly, it was also the confidence. The acceptance of myself and who I am and my ongoing learning, creative journey.

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Lastly I wanted to say a big massive thank you for all the people who really engaged with my creations and commented and who will probably be reading this! I am really appreciative and thankful for your support 🙂

Stay blessed,

Meron xx

 

 

 

 

Getting help.

I’ve been reading this new kindle book lately called: ‘Make Your Creativity Pay: How to Earn Your Living from the Things You Love to Do’ by Pete Mosley. In one his wise pages, he mentions getting either a coach or mentor and the benefits and differences having one makes.

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I’ve never really thought about having a coach or mentor because I thought first I need to do this alone, and figure it all out by myself, to prove some sort of worthiness, I guess. But I find that I’m naturally connecting with people and actually wanting to get their advice on how to do things, and how they have done things as a step towards their right direction – whether it’s emailing artist friends I know or having a quick cup of coffee and a chat.

Recently I’ve been following illustrator and soul guidance coach Hannah Marie Dudley  through her Facebook group as I actually met her funnily enough through a meetup group for creative coaching! There’s a lot of things that I find really true and can resonate with on a deep level and we have so much in common in terms of our goals and our vibes. We both want to help people and use art to do it and both creatives. She also lives in my neck of the woods, so it’s a good start 🙂

I had a short consultation session with her yesterday I’m positive that this is going to be such a great help. She’s got the drive and experience I need to hold me accountable for things which I lack of course. We will be starting our journey now together and I’m so grateful. I feel like this is meant to be! I even started back meditating again this morning (which was one thing on my list to improve)! Yay!

Check out her Facebook group The Freedom Soul Seekers – ‘Awaken the light within’ It has great tips, thoughts, giveaways and a nice community of like minded people to chat with.

I will let you know how it goes 🙂

Peace x