Expressive Arts Carnival Activity No. 7 – Self Portrait

This month’s activity for the Expressive Arts Carnival was to:

Through drawing, painting or any other visual means, create a self portrait. Please also include a couple of sentences saying what the process was like for you.

I’ll say up front: I found this activity the hardest one so far. I’ve never done a self-portrait, and I wasn’t sure where to begin.

At first I wanted to do something realistic and something that represented myself in a positive light. I knew that ruled out drawing, because I’d be drawn (no pun intended) into showing myself as I think of myself, and perhaps not as I am.

So then I played around with photos for a while – creatively distorting photos of myself, creating collages of parts of myself that I actually like these days. I even did a pop art photo arrangement, but none of these seemed right.

Then I wondered how much of my difficulty with this activity was caught up with being a survivor. Do I just lack an image of myself? Perhaps …

The Polyvore set I did today shows more about how I see myself in relation to the world. It isn’t the happy, positive image I had hoped to create, though I’m comfortable with how it turned out. It feels right, or more right than the other self-portraits I had created. I can connect with this image, as how I see myself and how I feel. The other images somehow didn’t seem like me, even though most were created with photos of myself.

I am small, in a very big world.

I am colourless, in a world of colour.

I am ugly, in a world of beauty.

I am invisible, in a world of light.

I’m different; I’m an outsider.

I am hiding my face because I’ve never felt worthy.

That is changing, but I’ve still got a way to go.


10 thoughts on “Expressive Arts Carnival Activity No. 7 – Self Portrait

  1. Kerro. You know I originally saw the image without reading the text (because I saw your submission this morning while half awake on my iPhone). The image itself is light and airy and soothing to me. But I can understand how all the little bubbles makes one feel fragmented and isolated. Is that what you were trying to get at here?

  2. @ Life Multiplied – thanks!

    @ Paul – If you look closely there’s a little figure inside one of the bubbles. What I was trying to get at was that I now see the world (and life) as beautiful and light and airy… but I feel apart from that world, sometimes trapped in my own “world”, which isn’t so light and airy. I guess it’s not that different to other images I’ve done – like the window (wall) where I’m looking out on the world, and not quite able to grasp its beauty or the things I want.

  3. What keeps on amazing me about self expression is how beautiful it can be, even when the ideas behind it are challenging…or perhaps that’s because the ideas behind it are challenging. This image seemed so beautiful and connected to me, Kerro – though that connection may be with the self rather than with the world.

  4. Hi Cat – you are right, the image is quite beautiful… there’s something in me that needs to have beauty even amidst the ugly. It’s also part of that disconnected feeling – knowing there’s a wonderful world, but not being sure how to reach it.

  5. The things with bubbles, is they can burst… so what’s keeping the bubble intact? It’s almost like the fragility of the bubble is a representation of how far you’ve actually come in your healing… it’s not a concrete wall, or barbed wire fence, but this thin substance that it keeping you apart from the world. You are also seeing the beauty in the world… you don’t feel connected to it, and I wonder if the beauty you see actually acts a bit of a barrier? I don’t know, it’s just that there seems to be a huge contrast between how you perceive yourself, and the beauty surrounding you.

    It’s a really powerful piece Kerro, really powerful. I’m glad you’re seeing that you are healing and changing…

    Take care,

  6. @ Same Sky – thank you. The thing about the disconnection – I guess part of my healing has been realising that the world really isn’t a big scary place… now the challenge is to try to be part of it.

    @ CG – funny, I always thought the bubbles were made of glass and really tough to break. Perhaps they’re not after all? You’re right, too, about the beauty. I do think it’s a bit of a barrier, because I don’t feel good enough to be part of it. May be it would have been easier if I still saw the world as ugly? I don’t know.

  7. Feeling apart and different is a commonality among survivors. Yet your images are so precious and beautiful, even the bubble with the figure. I think the piece show that on some level you already know that you are beautifuly, even though you don’t really believe it yet consciously.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


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