Monday, 30 March 2020

Object Lesson: Sense of Identity

The object I chose to explore was Matryoshka dolls.  I have a few in my home and people seem to like these the idea of one person inside another until you reach the tiniest one. So I took a few photos of them. 

I just played about a little with here while I was thinking about them.  As I said in my first post I was interested in art as therapy as a theme for this term and these dolls are all about identity as each one inside the other is an identity of its own but lived as part of the whole.

This idea that we are lots of people is, again, not new, but I think exploring different parts of the self as therapy in different mediums and forms could be an interesting idea to start thinking about as a project.  

Another artist who struggles with her identity and used art as therapy was Frida Kahlo.  As she was in a life-altering accident when the bus she was travelling on hit a streetcar and she was impaled by a steel handrail causing her to have serious damage to her hips and spine when she young, she spent her life having a series of operations to try to correct this and was bedridden often as a result.  Kahlo painted and drew from her bed and also underwent psychological testing that is recorded in the book 'Song for Herself' by Salomon Grimberg.  

Portrait of Irene Bohus (1947) by Frida Kahlo

Kahlo writes; 'A self-portrait made in bed was another [when discussing paintings she had made], and since I did it when I did not want to eat, I painted it with a funnel' (Grimberg S. 2008: 63), Kahlo, due to illness, physical disability and depression found ways and perhaps reasons to live through her work and this reflects the power of creation - when designing, creating, making something that is coming from deep inside this is deep therapy and a way of communicating with the world.  

So considering these initial thoughts.  I would like to use mixed media in the sense of Anselm Kiefer or Tracey Emin to create a project that explores my own self but I am hoping reaches some universal meaning that will communicate to those who care to look. 

References (2020) Frida Kahlo [Online] Available from: (Accessed 30/03/20)

Grimberg S (2008) Frida Kahlo, Song to Herself, Merell Publishers Ltd, London. 

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