First, I apologize for my absence. This Winter and Spring has been occupied by events, projects, trips, and conferences. Although I have not been writing as much, I have been documenting those memories on my other social media platforms.
My last post summarized the most important parts of my senior Communication research. Since then, I have noticed that I really enjoy learning about how the world informs us about race and how that encourages us to or hinders us from taking action. As I work to improve my physical being and my outlook on the world, I began focusing within and actively practicing more self-love.
My senior Art Capstone documents this process through paint. I will release the artist statement and final images for the current exhibition on display within the next couple of weeks. However, I will insert a sneak peak below! More images are loaded onto my Instagram
During the last couple of months, I have conducted research on the self-image and self-definition the identity of young African American women. Much of the literature review and expert interviews led to conversations which were challenging to grasp. Just understanding the reality of the adversities that come along with the intersectionality of being an African American woman in the U.S. was disheartening. However, the research did not end on a sad note.
What I realized is that young African American women see the importance of self-love. The group in my case study had begun to practice self-love and a freedom of expression which may initially sound rudimentary, yet is so complex and necessary to the collective progression. The majority of participants agreed that the thing they wanted most was to be free from expectations on who they should portray, what they should say, and what they should do as African American women.
With this in mind, I am continuing with this research into an artist project. For my second undergraduate capstone, I am creating a show through paintings which address the issues mentioned above. I have planned three large scale nude self-portraits in an attempt to humanize African American women through my own personal experiences. I am in the process of releasing myself from pre-prescribed labels and expectations. I am excited to keep you all updated with this process. The show will be exhibited on the 13th of April.
You can follow the experience in real time via Instagram: cayla_jae. I will be posting sketches soon and process shots throughout the next couple of months.
I have spent weeks trying to find the words and the perfect quote to express this thought. What I have now realized is that it does not have to be ingenious or flawlessly crafted. What I want to say is that I am transitioning.
For years, I have created work that I felt others wanted to see. I have painted, drawn, and written narratives that we not of my true nature, voice, nor intentions. Therefore, following my explorations aboard through the landscapes of Ireland and then nationally within the suburbs of Orlando, Florida, I have reached a period which I consider the eye of the storm.
I am currently doing research, along with person soul searching, in order to properly articulate my narrative. For this reason, I have not and will not be posting as often as I have in the past; however, this Winter you can expect sneak peeks of my first exhibition. I am excited about this for many reasons, but I am most excited to be able to sincerely share myself with you.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
― Thomas Merton
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
- Maya Angelou
After this summer, I know two things for sure: if you truly want something, it is yours to have, and also remain flexible, because you’ll never know where this world will take you. With a positive mindset and a good amount of stubbornness, I have no doubt that you can turn life’s unfortunate events into dreams. I had heard an artist say before that the most important thing to them was to “craft their life” and not just let it play. Being humans, we are creatures of habit and without a little bit of creativity or curiosity, we find ourselves stuck. Always question, always challenge, and always grow…for not all those who wander are lost.
“Now that he was safe from the world outside he was being attacked from within his own head.” – Cal by Bernard Maclaverty, p.106.
The art process is very vulnerable and uncertain. Much of the time that I spend working alone is filled with doubts and negativity from my mind. Art involves so much self criticism that one become less bothered by others expectations. One of the things my professor tells students is to not forget what you do well. As a group, we spend more time attempting to perfect that which is already perfect. Let your mind rest and enjoy your days.
Traveling aboard has shown me a different side of drinking culture. In many parts of the states, going to bars is all about getting trashed and remembering bits of your night. Here in Ireland, I see something much different. Sure there are drunkards roaming in the wee hours of the night and plenty of tourist who have one drink too many; however, the pub culture here is about community, socializing, and entertainment. Pub life is less about drinks and getting trashed, but more about the relationship we have with one another.
This month, I’ve been traveling along the coasts in Ireland. In learning about the culture and history of this country, I’ve realized that the world and stories of the dead never leave new generations. Every generation reforms the traditions of the past and it is only through understanding that history that we are able to take full advantage of the present. #irishturtle