Artist Statement – Speaking Subjectively About Selves

Self Portrait In The Suburbs

Selves are constructs we all possess.

We are all born into this world and develop a unique identity. We are each born at a specific time and place. We are all individuals. Sometimes I wonder who I might be if I had been born to some other parents, or in some other society, or at some other time, or place. Sometimes my sense of individual self is diminished. The I that I am will cease to be.

Our identity, or self, is made up of a physical body to which we assign labels and categories; we belong to different tribes, groups, cultures, classes, organizations, families, and so on. Some of us hold so firmly to aspects of our identity (i.e. religion, ethnic, political), that we are willing to kill those who seem to be different. At the other end of the spectrum, some people work to move beyond individual identity and to become one with the universe. As for me, I’m somewhere in the middle of these two extremes and as an artist I find my Self fertile ground for exploration.

Parts of our brains are unable to distinguish the difference between you and I. If I examine myself it is like you are looking at yourself.

I explore and think about inner life, my own and others. I stand in awe of the wider world and view my role as a witness thereof.

I am made up of a bunch of smaller bits of myself. I am limited by my identities. I am separate and autonomous. I belong with and to others.

I have lived along the spectrum of middle-class American life from working poor to upper-middle.

I am a woman, currently middle aged – the future is unknown, but if I’m lucky I stand where the length of my life is equidistant forward and back. I want to live. I have in the past wanted to die, and have spent years hiding and fearful of life.

I am an idealist. Who am I? I am a body. I am a collection of many selves. Is my sorrow or joy any different from your sorrow or joy?

We all follow our own path way. We are each born at a specific time and place. We are all individuals.

Visit the Paula Lalala MVSEVM, get to know yourself better.