'Contrary Mary' panel of PESHMERGA series


This panel (13.6H x 12.5W x 0.7in) titled 'Contrary Mary' is part of a series called 'Peshmerga'. This work started as way for me to manage my recovery after giving birth the serious complications that followed and would bring me close to death and would take the best part of two years to recover from.

Before I fell pregnant I had been teaching myself how to use digital comic programmes as I wanted to assimilate more of that influence into my work and also expand my skills in new media. This was to be fortuitous in the months and years to come as I struggled with my recovery and a new born baby. Working with new media was perfect for being confined to the bedroom at times.

One of the reasons that I work to incorporate community engagement in my practice is because of how art became so important to helping me deal with post-natal depression. This triptych documents that journey of recovery.

'Contrary Mary' gives reference to the Christian upbringing that was prominent in my Caribbean heritage and the iconic image of the Virgin Mary, one that for me became an image of perfection that I had no hope of attaining. When I looked at my own experience I saw a corrupted version of the divine, beautiful, nature of birth. This was probably added to by the hallucinations, one part of the horrible side effects or arguable allergic reaction I experienced whilst on morphine and various other prescription painkillers.

This work chronicles my recovery and redemption as I came through the other side. I choose resin and taxidermy items such as butterflies and bird wings because they are beautiful living things now dead and something other than themselves which is how I felt about myself. I went through a metamorphosis and had to have several surgeries to rebuild and repair parts of myself and the use of resin reflected that plasticity that I saw my body becoming.

The use of layering has been a consistent theme in my practice for some time. I do relatively little preparatory work as the work itself, the activity of working out the answer to that specific creative question is all on that one page, panel, book and so on. I don't know the ending until I reach it but I want you to witness the workings of balancing the equation.