Save our sanity

iii.

vrede.in.pyn : peace in pain

gunna

acrylic on canvas

Beauty, happiness, freedom and peace are simple words that we hear often. As simple as they seem, their subjectivity makes our interpretation of these words play a vital role in how we live and lead our lives. Having a healthy outlook in these areas can make the weight of the world feel a whole lot lighter. Feeling unattractive, unhappy, trapped or at war, outwardly or inwardly, are not sought after emotions. However, in our generation, more people than ever still face these adversities everyday.  It's a known fact that life comes with an array of trials that we have to navigate through. Maintaining a positive perspective of what's happening isn't always easy. In fact, I've never found it to be easy, but when we flip that switch in our minds, positive energy begins to flow.

 

i

vrede.in.pyn : peace in pain

gunna

acrylic on canvas

ii

vrede.in.pyn : peace in pain

gunna

acrylic on canvas

Perspective is a powerful thing. Stimuli are constantly being thrown at us and how we process the information won't always be the same as the rest of the world. When negativity comes in our direction, we also have varying reactions to it. However, despite what is going on around us, we can try to control what goes on in our minds. When negativity comes our way, we have the choice to absorb it or let it dissipate. 

When speaking with Toronto-based, Nigerian multi-media artist, Ugonna 'gunna' Ikechi, he described his belief that "anger or silence can't solve lack of freedom." When he speaks of freedom he is not referring to physical freedom, but mental freedom and peace of mind. Translated through the series, vrede.in.pyn : peace in pain, gunna gives us the opportunity to challenge our definitions of beauty, happiness, freedom and peace. These paintings portray women in a state that may be considered as vulnerable to most, dressed in what can be interpreted as a prison jumpsuit. When you look beyond the surface of the paintings we can interpret that although we may be trapped in some way, we can still save our sanity by freeing our minds and becoming at peace with our circumstances. The details in their faces and overall demeanor report a sense of serenity, confidence and peace that brings beauty from within. Despite their circumstance, being imprisoned, they do no allow their mental being to be confined. Often what we experience is the opposite. We seem content on the outside but our inner self is being stifled. We may even attempt to tell ourselves that outward appearance and possessions can satisfy our need for happiness and peace. However, outward appearances cannot save us from our demons.

When we seek satisfaction from within, it prevents us from being disappointed by others or the world overall. Whether or not you identify with the characters portrayed, you're aware that the world isn't always on our side. To be free releases us of unhealthy attachments and allows us to be independent of these factors. Strive to keep the faith in what you can control. We may not be able to make our problems disappear but when we choose not to absorb negativity we are able to breathe easier.

 
You’re the source, the well never runs out.
— gunna
 

The best way to combat negativity is to constantly feed yourself with positivity. Surround yourself with the people that lift you up, read/watch/listen to inspirational material and give positivity to others. Like I said before, maintaining a positive outlook isn't easy. That’s why we must constantly nourish ourselves with beneficial stimulus to weaken the effect of opposing factors. In the final piece, iii, what stood out to me the most is the paint dripping upward. While the piece clearly states freedom, it defies the theory of gravity. We must go against what we considered possible and decide to seek peace from within. Only then will we experience true freedom. Life will always be on our side once we allow it. 

gunna on vrede.in.pyn

gunna on vrede.in.pyn

Artwork by gunna, @thegunnavision

Written by Monique Jhanielle, @moegxld