Drawing is how I identify myself. At a very young age, I was certain that I had wanted to spend the rest of my life drawing. Somewhere down the road, I forgot this and eventually I had trouble unleashing my artistic self. This affected me mentally and emotionally. I avoided drawing things that I had conceived myself. I eventually stopped drawing altogether.
Someone very dear to me suggested I began a self-portrait project: drawing one a day so I could come to be more comfortable with my physical appearance and emotions I had internalised. Anxiety and inner turmoil that had kept me on edge constantly. Apart from helping me record the things in my mind space, the project allowed me to creatively explore myself and my art again. It helped my soul, becoming an outlet for me. The self portraits began to evolve, and they got easier and more natural.
The drawings are based on the whims of my subconscious. I start with my face and body, and then continue with the rest of the drawing, my day dictating how each portrait progresses.
Self portraits often unveil the stems of emotions within us and I felt this project was relevant to skin because of the contrast it provides between what’s on the surface, and in the depths of us. The drawings reveal things from my inner reality that is often different from how I present myself to the outside world.
While I initially approached the project with hesitation, the project had become very valuable because of what it meant to me. My vision has improved (although still skewed) and because of these drawings, I had to embrace the things about myself I had loathed – my nose, the structure of my face, my body. What I considered flaws had become what I looked forward to drawing and instead of covering my art, I have become okay with sharing them with the public. My state of mind has changed, and I now have a healthier outlook of myself – psychologically and mentally, in both good days, and bad.
Aisha is either drawing, daydreaming or pretending she is in a Bollywood film.
* Featured image by Abby Tai.