This section begins with the death of my cousin. She died in 2018. That, to me, is when I really understood what I wanted to do as an artist. Documenting her life, painting her, drawing her, examining her clothes, and starting an interactive project which combines both creative practice and activism- the JUST Project- have been vital elements to this series. The main goals are to examine drug addiction, human trafficking, exploitation; women’s mental health; bullying and most of all, many lives through one- and I believe oddly relatable- life: that of my late cousin.
This painting is the first in a series exploring themes relating to drug addiction, human trafficking, and mental health. It began when my cousin died of an overdose. A mussel represents her potential to live again- she had overdosed once before. Her outstretched hand causes tension: she will never come back. I maintain the narrative of my cousin throughout this series as a primary focus, however, recent work has led me to not only connect with other women who have a personal interest in studying these topics, but, encouraged me to tackle new ways of using oil paint to create faces that hide as much as reveal, while also working with more conceptual mediums. I will in future study ancient theatre masks from a diversity of cultures to explore this concept of hiding and revealing.