Recently, I have come across the incredible works of Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese contemporary artist, touched by mental illness originating from troubling childhood experiences. Kusama struggles with hallucinations and has used her art as an active form of therapy. She shares with the world her struggle with neurosis through her beautiful, numerous pieces of work. I love her active protest of the stigma that mental illness is shameful and should be dealt with alone. She shares her work with the world, expressing the message that one's battle with mental illness cannot be faced alone and that there should be no humiliation or embarrassment from your struggles as well. As a person touched by mental illness directly, I am continually trying to find powerful ways to advocate for mental health awareness. Kusama has been practicing this skillfully for nearly her entire life, so I created a piece in celebration of her work and for the advocacy of mental health awareness. The piece shows many different patterns coming together to form one sculpture. Each unique pattern has its own story, yet together form something beautiful. The idea was to celebrate our differences, and realize how they bring us closer together. Making assumptions about others based on what you see is simply damaging. You can undermine their struggles by assuming you understand what they have gone through, causing them to label their pain as inadequate. Pain is pain, so to avoid this, you must look deeper, and listen carefully to their stories of strife and how it has shaped them into the people they are today. This is why I painted an eye on the inside of the pot to remind others to look deeper, rather than making assumptions based on surface.
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