Ongoing mixed media self-portraiture series—Isolation— was conceived during the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.
Isolation explores the meaning and feelings one attaches to being physically isolated through the mediums of self portraiture and digital art. With an emphasis on caring for our mental health, our permanent journey towards self-acceptance and finding comfort in our own company, the series is a portrayal of varied emotional experiences during the COVID19 lockdown.
This series is for everybody who feels the heaviness of being alone, like their walls are closing in, like they haven’t had real human contact since this began, for everybody who is going through this by themselves. I feel like we are all living in our personal fish bowl, trying our hardest to keep the fragile walls of our being from crumbling.
The experience we are going through can feel lonely, comforting, empowering, anxious, peaceful, unhealthy, constraining, unhappy, addictive, fearful, unpredictable, demotivating, calming, ordinary, resentful, depressing, hopeful, hopeless. For every feeling and every version of it, the series encourages the viewer to know that they are not alone.
My works Building Floor are Fish Bowls 001, 002 & 003 question the concept of home as a place of solace and peaceful existence. Homes often manifest as threatening confined spaces for victims of abuse and those struggling with their mental health, with the current situation offering them no escape. My work is an act of empathy towards those struggling during this time.
My works Swimming [in isolation], explore what it is like to feel lonely and to feel alone. I tapped into these feelings from my personal experience when swimming. Although I have been swimming since I was three, for a very small part of my childhood I’d swim competitively. Since I was little I have always loved to swim and it is something that remains a cherished activity. Yet, when swimming in the pool, around 35 meters or so into a 50 meter lap, especially in an empty pool, I’d experience a strange sense of being alone, completely solitary. The feeling was at times unsettling, at times calming. It was accompanied by the clarity of not being able to get myself anywhere until I move my own arms and legs and as long as I move my arms and legs. As much as I love them, till date water bodies make me feel this way, be it pools, oceans, lakes, seashores. They make me feel small and helpless yet powerful and independent at the same time. This series is shaping up with this sense of vulnerability and strength and the duality between them.
How does one overcome their feeling of loneliness? What kind of conversations does one have with oneself and with others? How does one reach out to loved ones or go about cultivating a chosen family? How does one convert loneliness to solitude? How often does one check-in with themselves? How often does one check in with loved ones? How often does one feel understood? How often does one give space to understand someone? What makes one feel lonely? What makes one feel connected? What kind of work goes into ourselves to help us take flight? I started this series as a reflection of my thoughts on what isolation could feel like for different people given the state of the world in a pandemic. Over time, I became interested in exploring the feeling of loneliness in isolation from the current circumstances too. Since then, I have slowly been reading and learning about what causes humans to feel lonely. It has given me perspective on several different factors that play a role in this state of mind.
MARKAJ ART online
based in ANKARA, TURKEY — may, 2020
GALLERY LANE COVE online
based in SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — june, 2020