Blue Self Portrait, 2019-2021

As a disabled artist it feels like such an achievement to finish an artwork, but also bittersweet as this alone took me two years to make. On and off its been an emotional rollercoaster but the outcome is something of such beauty and represents the pain and feelings of being trapped in my body and circumstance. I cannot fully explain the impact physical and mental distress, chronic pain has caused me over the past three years but this piece is a start. The fire on this self portrait was completely perfect for expressing my burning pain, and the barbed wire idea came to me recently in place of the hyperpigmentation i have on my skin from my heated pad and representing the sharp pains.

I came up with this self portrait after seeing a drawing by Frida Kahlo a few years ago at the beginning of my hand pain. It was a multilayered image showing her naked body covered in her clothing/protective armour. I was touched by the way she had drawn beautiful blue butterflies climbing up her leg which had caused her pain all her life. I wanted to create a full body portrait which showed the pain i have been in, how stuck i feel in my body and life. I started to feel hatred and anger towards myself and my body which ive spent the past 5-10 years to overcome. I needed to embroider this piece to invest some love back into myself and have an outlet for my feelings.