Series: Is This How You See Me?

IsThis_Paperskin FB
“Paper Skin”
10 x 15 cm (4 x 6 in) series of 6
human skin, binder, water

IsThis_Versions FB“Versions”
91 x 122 cm (36 x 48 in)
oil on wood

IsThis_Barelylit FB“Barely Lit”
122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)
oil on wood

IsThis_Doublecast FB
“Double Cast”
91 x 122 cm (36 x 48 in)
oil on wood

IsThis_Something FB
“Something in the Water”
122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)
oil on wood

IsThis_Wallpaper FB
“Living Room Wallpaper”
122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)
oil on wood

IsThis_Thespace FB
“The Space”
91 x 122 cm (36 x 48 in)
oil on wood

Exhibition text and catalogue here: http://mekyambao.com/is-this-how-you-see-me/

Artist Notes:

This is a concept I’ve had for years but something I had to come to terms with. I took baby steps but never proceeded with creating. It was only until recently that I felt that it was time, the idea was demanding to be executed and I obliged.

My skin condition is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. I tried to hide, deny and ignore it in efforts be seen as a person rather than gawked at, which was an experience way too common for half of my life. It caused me a lot of hurt and pain growing up. I eventually reached a pivotal point of accepting that, whatever I do, people are going to look anyway so I learned to bask in the attention whether it was good or bad. This made me appear unaffected, but the debilitating fear has always been at the back of my head creeping in when left unchecked. Like all skin disorders, it’s much more than a cosmetic issue that people brush off as.

I refused to acknowledge my condition for a long time and I thought I was getting away with it, until I realised that this is doing a disservice to my self. My whole self. It also affects what I create especially since those are extensions of myself. Art demands authenticity and this was becoming a more obvious hurdle in expressing in my visual language. I felt that it was time shine light at one of the darkest corners of my mind.

This exhibition is a statement that I’m putting this on the forefront and- I am SO scared. I am terrified

I’m scared of getting those feelings again — getting bullied to the point of suicide, trying hard to overachieve never feeling adequate, having to smile at people for telling me “sayang, maganda ka pa naman”, feeling guilt and shame for being born with a rare congenital skin disorder especially when others have it worse…

But I’ve come to realize that when you’re scared, that is when you take the leap. So as much as I’m afraid, I’m also excited — for the present and the possibilities that branch out of it. I believe there is power in vulnerability especially when the world forces you to be tough.

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