I am not worthy.
An exhibition currently in Limerick Museum, 4th – 28th February 2020.
An exhibition of my work is currently running in the Limerick Museum. I know the title is can seem possibly a little unnerving. I have been asked to give some insight into the work. So here goes, by the way I am very new to writing a blog, hope it’s ok. I’m sure I will get better.
This work captures the child within all of us. I explore childhood sentiments and allow this thread to develop, even if on first observation it might be a little unnerving. Perhaps this is because there are elements present that we can relate to, as we cannot deny the fact we were all children once.
I aim to capture the vulnerability and the strength that children have in abundance. In these paintings I wish to explore this through the fragility of the child’s mind and the power mantras have on them. These mantras passed on in most part, innocently from parents, school, church. If we hear it and believe it to be real, we don’t question it.
For me, I felt at an early age reciting prayers in school to be somewhat uncomfortable. I heard each line I was saying but some words felt very uncomfortable to get off the end of my tongue. In particular, which wraps around the exhibition that l found difficult to say was “ I am not worthy, but only say the word and I shall be healed” really I am not worthy? This was a mantra repeated from us from the first day of school when brought to mass.
It was not that I was brimming with confidence, it just didn’t sit with me, perhaps I was fearful that it might be true. Maybe I felt unworthy, who knows. All the more reason not to have a mantra that crushes you every time. I am not saying everybody felt the same, but I suppose I was never asked. Instead in church, I would lower my head and mumble a sound, believing that I could not lie I had to be in my truth.
It took me into my adulthood to realise that the power of the word on us at an early age can be damaging. In my work, the portraits depict this vulnerability that separates us from the crowd, that quietens our spirit, but only for a short time if we are lucky. We can tap into our strength, our feisty childish warrior to question these mantras that don’t fit with us. That our gut feeling is telling us that this does not feel right, to trust this gut.
The advantage of being an expert in childhood means we can remember what it means to be funny, carefree. This is how we developed our resilience by climbing trees and falling. How we fell down, dusted ourselves off and tried again. There were no failures just “That didn’t work this time, what can I do differently next time”. As adults we tend to be in our “adult” head, afraid to fail. Not trying, maybe because we believe we’re not good enough.
For the day that’s in it, Happy Valentine’s day. Be kind to yourself first and foremost, listen to the mantra you are telling yourself, does it fit?