Undo Umbra, Undo Shadow Self, 2021

Do you ever stop to think about how you share yourself with others?

Ever since I was a child, I was always misunderstood by the people around me and often found it difficult to express my thoughts. Rather, I didn’t know how to express my thoughts, fears and pain. Human beings as a species are similar and different in myriad ways, but in order to assimilate into society, we mimic the most normative characteristics of each other and try to repress all deviations. I believe this causes people to retreat from self-expression.

In my work as in my life, my shadow follows me. My artistic practice acts as an investigation into how lived experience shapes how it is I come to be in the world, and is informed by the potential that agency provides to become something new. I embrace the shadows that follow me by visualizing the horrors of my life and from them creating. As a survivor of abuse my work plays a dual function: I translate my experiences to confront the misogyny which allows for abuse while creating opportunities for self-healing and for the healing of an invisible community of survivors. The close observation and engagement with the agony of trauma informs my process. The focus is to look beyond the distractions of the conspicuous to the potential that is created through a dialogue with writing, illustration and performance.

Shadows (move, bend, and distort) as our light source (sun) travels across the sky. Clouds morph into celestial shapes in the sky and the land itself becomes a screen on which we can view a combination of cosmic projections and our imagination - which we attempt to decipher but can never fully know. The shadow self is the part of us that has been pushed by someone else’s words or actions, to experience inner tension and cognitive dissonance, to judge or lash out at others or to feel insecure and held back. We approach darkness with a melancholic and uneasy caution. This ambivalence reveals much about our shadow selves and the ability of the mind to plunge into the depths of unease and liberate in the absence of light. Shadow has the power not only to create an illusion to deceive us but also the capability to inform us as well. Shadows force us to grapple with our vulnerabilities. Through these shadow montages, I have attempted to embrace my shadow self by visualizing the horrors of my life, thereby rewriting myself anew.

vridhhi chaudhry 2023 © All rights reserved
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