A little can go a long way

It’s been a hectic month leading up to Christmas with lots of exciting plans, projects and social visits going on – thank you God and the universe – but yesterday was a one of my highlights of that day.

I was on my way to meet my amazing friend. I was about to cross the road when a woman asks me politely “Excuse me, could you help me cross the road?” Of course I did. I assumed she was in her 70’s and had a shopping trolley/carrier with her. She took my arm and I started having a conversation about where she was from, where I was from etc. She was from Hong Kong originally and told me she had trouble walking sometimes because of her bad knee. She needed to sit down so she found a chair outside a pub. I told her to go inside where it was warmer but she didn’t want the fuss. I felt bad for leaving her there but I did have places to be and there were some men sitting near to her so I was sure they could help.

Call me a romantic or an idealist but those few minutes really touched my heart.

And credit to her for asking for help because sometimes pride can get in the way.

Her name was Lina.

Thank you Lina for that moment.

 

🙂

 

NEWS: She’s going to a new home!

My painting ‘Head in the Clouds’, 2016 has now been sold!

sold-3-1024x683

 

sold-1-1024x683

 

And it’s actually my first painting to be sold to be honest. Which is why I’m making a big deal. I’m really grateful for the connection and vibe and also for Instagram – let’s keep it real, it opens many conversations for a lot of artists especially as well as other users.

So yes she’s going to a new home. It’s a little bittersweet. I quite liked having her around but I’m glad the home she’s going to is a good place.

Things are going well this month. 😀

Mad appreciation.

I’d like some more of that please universe.

NEWS: Cards and Collaborations!

I’m so excited to be chosen to collaborate with another artist and art director for an upcoming local gallery in Vauxhall! I can’t say too much right now as we are still in the early stages of development. But what I can say is that we will be creating greetings and postcards for the African diaspora more specifically to be sold in the galley and also with other indie and national establishments.

We’ve already had a meeting, and I can already tell, it’s going to be great- the signs, the synchronicity, it’s all there!

So watch this space!

Stay blessed,

M x

Autumn reminders.

I’m loving the autumn colours! I get so inspired by mother nature.
The transition of life, the transition of colours….

Change can be a beautiful thing, perhaps not at the time of change but once you stand back and can reflect on it. You realise how powerful or significant it is. Change will always happen, in many ways and forms. Sometimes at the time negative, sometimes positive. It can be a struggle to go through the motions. It may feel like the world is against you. A pressure to stay afloat and on top of things to counteract the dynamics of change. Sometimes we resist change, sometimes we don’t want it in our lives. “I’m happy being comfortable!”, “I don’t want to move, it’s nice and cosy here!”.

I’m not going to lie, I have those moments too. I just want to curl up in my be and not go outside. But then when life gets stagnant and boring, what do we do? Change. Really, it’s inevitable.

If we can harness the perspective to take it as it is, and admire it for its powers, I think life will be more fulfilling and more satisfying.

Knowing that change will benefit in the future, – provided there is positive action- should be truly appreciated. We don’t grow if we don’t change!

Talk about it! (mental and spirtual health – Part 2)

It seems to me, living in London, being brought up in an African/British household and community, and having reserved, conservative parents have definitely made accessing counselling or psychotherapy really off-putting. Team that up with a society where the previously expected formula for a successful is ‘go to uni + do a masters + do an internship = job’, and it increases more symptoms of decreasing mental health!

‘Sick, twisted people go the mental hospital’, ‘Are you mental? Are you sick in the head?’ – It’s this kind of statements and utterings that are often conveyed within a lot of households. The image of the distressed, rough looking person with a straight jacket and a constant twitch that eludes danger and insanity is commonly in the minds of a lot of people where mental health is involve. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE. 

Many people are suffering the same things but are afraid that it will make them seem weak. A negative label hanging over their heads like their an outcast to society. It’s simply not true. There are many ways to deal with our stresses and issues in life. Meditation is common place. Going tot he gym. Having sex. (Okay maybe not so much as a long term solution, but it gives some endorphines to us). Praying. Art therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, etc. Talking to someone about it….like…a friend, stranger, or going to a qualified counsellor at a local health clinic. Even creating online groups to discuss about certain topics like anxiety. It helps.

I’ve tried counselling and told one or two people about it that aren’t family, because again of the social stigma. But I’m putting it out there now. And it helps. It’s one of many ways to work on issues that we all suffer from. Having an objective point of view within a completely confident environment and a professional experienced approach makes a difference. I had about six sessions – it was a free service available at uni – but even then it made me see a little ‘out of myself’. It gave me some distance and perspective that I appreciated because I didn’t think about it that way before. Luckily it was free as well. I have to admit, many private health services cost an arm and a leg, which makes it even more inaccessible.

It’s funny that in the States it’s not a big of a deal to have a psychotherapist on hand. Or have a marriage counsellor (or at least its more accepted in society). But in the UK, it seems like a very big deal. Why? Hmm.

It seems that discussing mental health publicly or at least having a person to talk to about is a real demand – even in a world where everyone is ‘talking’ (communicating ) on social media.

Happy #WorldMentalHealthday ! Keep sharing.

On my next post in this series I will be talking about Art therapy as it is a new found appreciation of mine, and more.

Please share your experiences, stories or opinions whatever it may be. I would love to do podcasts or interviews with anyone who would like to share and contribute towards future posts in the series. You can always contact me directly on my email mm.dubale@gmail.com.

🙂

Stay blessed,

Meron x

 

Progress: Flip IT! (mental and spiritual health – part 1)

I woke up this morning with slight anxiety. Anxiety that makes itself know to me from time to time, especially when I over analyse and dwell on situations (predictably, the situation was regarding finances) – even with positive quotes filled on my social media feeds! It’s easy to take that trip from time to time. But the important thing is not to let those feelings conquer your life, your emotions and your actions.

One train of thought that has been popping up more recently is identifying You as your best friend. ‘The Casual Artist‘ made this aware to me when we had a Skype consultation. During my childhood, I have always felt that I was my own worst enemy. I even have a distinct memory of receiving a report card when I was in year 6, with the teacher stating that ‘Meron can be her own worst enemy’. Once I told the Casual Artist this, he flipped it up and asked me this question: ‘Can you say to me the total opposite of that statement?’

I first stumbled. It was really hard, and I didn’t get why. But he broke it down to me and eventually I stated that ‘Meron is her own best friend’.

I was truly amazed by this. I had never thought of seeing my self in this way at all! Bizarre.

I am my own best friend….Meron is her own best friend. Meron..is…her own…best friend. That makes total sense! It’s the complete OPPOSITE of what I’ve been making myself accustomed to. And so I say to you: FLIP IT. Any negative or niggling statements that have prevailed in your life, ask yourself what is the total opposite of that statement. Then say it back to yourself. 

As an artist, as a human being carving a fulfilling career for myself, there’s still days like this morning where I stumble. However, I’ve been really progressing with being more resilient. Showing appreciation for what I do have. I have time and some means to do what I love. To do develop my work. To create alliances as well as art and change my way of life for the better. Some ladies my age, have been forced into marriage, enslaved, don’t have access to clean water. So hey, how can I complain right? I have some privileges in some sorts and I need to exercise those, if not for myself, than for the people who can’t.

Gratitude is a great attitude.

I will be making another post on mental health and spirituality concentrating on why this is so important to discuss in our community. Especially the ‘black’ communities, where it’s still such a stigma to receive counselling or psychotherapy. So stay tuned!

Stay blessed,

Meron x

 

 

Africa Utopia is Here!

So for the second time, the Southbank Centre is hosting Africa Utopia, which explores the many dynamic and creative cultural elements of Afrika and its affects on the world.

The first thing when I encountered the food market is the sounds of the vibrant, bold beats of African music and the sumptious smells of Caribbean, Ghanaian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, South African and Kenyan food. Oh my gosh.


As I drift away from the outside market and navigate towards the Royal Festival Hall (where the inside events take place), I see lots of beautiful accessories and clothes with glamourous prints. Yellow, orange, wood, metal, cottons, rayons, the chitter-chatter of negoatiations and the bored looks of the chidren helping out their mamas on the stall.

Finding something to observe or participate in is not hard as there are so many events and opportunities. Take for example ‘Meet [the Author] Chibundu Onuzo’. At 25 years old, with two books under her belt (The spiderking’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos – which is coming out soon!), a coloumnist for The Guradian and overall diva, she has a  young yet impressive quality about her! She was very quick with her back-handers and wit which made us all laugh.

This is her response when asked about her political stance as a hypothetical Nigerian politician: “Am I here to talk about my political ambitions or about my book!” I get you Chibundu. It’s not the one for me either. Despite that, she did answer well referring to education, female sanitation and the high levels of youth unemployement and crime.

In terms of fashion, my partner and I discovered a great talk about lookng beyond African prints in the fashion industry, as it can stereotype some African fashion designers! Unfortunately, we got hungry so we ate and missed the catwalk that was after.

The last day of the festival is tomorrow, Sunday 4th September. If you haven’t been before, or you like African culture and want to explore, please go! Visit the Southbank Centre’s website which will tell you the schedule if you’re pressed for time.

Enjoy!

M x

 

 

 

100 days of mini creations!

Today I have decided to challenge myself and set up a #100daysproject on Instagram. I had seen it before through other people’s social media pages especially that of @elstriggs – an AWESOME illustrator who is pregnant with her first child and documenting it on IG.

I feel that when it comes to routine, I’m terrible. Like I literally have to  force my self to brush my teeth everyday. And I got to the point where I’ve seen so many inspirational videos and articles and advice from family and friends to work hard to succeed. I feel I really haven’t been stepping up. I’ve also read that it takes about 60 days to make or break a habit. So WHEN (not if, when- trying to be positive!) I manage to complete this challenge, it will put me in a better headspace to know I can acheive what ever I put my mind to it, even it is a small task!

The challenge: post on IG everyday for 100 days a visual postcard. This could be a drawing, a poem, a story, a painting or whatever really that is like a snapshot of the day or a significant moment that is memorable. To challenge my creativity!

This challenge is mainly just for me. If no-one gives it a like or a damn, I really don’t care! Lol. If it does, thanks 🙂 It’s about proving something to myself, making myself accountable for my art, thickening my skin (so to speak) of the good, the bad and the ugly that I may share. Hopefully it ain’t too ugly. But thats’s life. Sometimes my work may not be where I want it to be but that’s okay. Just move on and keep creating.