What is my project?
Welcome to my project on Parkinson's Disease. This project explores the inner workings of how a disease affects a group collectively. I focus on the differences and connections between someone who is diagnosed with a disease, and someone who is a witness of disease. I want to unravel contrasts and differences in experiencing sickness within a family and explore aspects of experiencing I feel aren't as commonly treated or discussed
As a society we merely focus on “health” from a physical standpoint. I researched the effects of sickness on people who aren’t diagnosed with the disease itself, and analyzed aspects of experiencing disease that aren’t treated by medications and surgery. There is an emotional toll that is not acknowledged alongside disease. My work was created to access a perspective on disease that is never talked about. Who has considered looking up a daughter’s thoughts on her parent’s health status? I certainly haven’t, and until recently, I didn’t realize that I could uncover my side of the story. I explored a variety of questions: how can a disease affect a group of people? Where does someone, who witnesses sickness, fall into the system of disease? Do generational differences within a group affect people differently? This is personally important to me because my dad has Parkinson’s disease, so it is prevalent in my daily life, and I wanted to consider how this disease has affected me.
These four self portraits show varying levels of impact on me - someone who experiences, but is not diagnosed with, disease. I have never worked with oil paints so I think that struggle and bravery added to my piece. I have never talked about or created work based on Parkinson’s disease, so it pairs nicely with a medium that I have no experience with. By incorporating different styles, I created contrasts between each self portrait in order to more deeply show the depths to which I have been affected by my father’s diagnosis. The one where I am bald is inspired by Francesco Clemente’s portraits, the one with the batteries on my head was inspired by Marlene Dumas, the one that is upside down is inspired by Georg Baselitz, and the one that has no intentional alteration is inspired by Jenny Saville.
Uniting the four portraits with the same red background, reflected the idea that we are all in it together. To see myself with the things that my dad may be ashamed of reassures the fact that there is no need to feel that shame. This is shown by the difference of t-shirt colors: the one portrait that is not altered, has a black t-shirt on. The others are wearing white shirts, signifying a purer state of being, despite being the ones displaying sickness. They aren't hiding any aspects of themselves or attempting to blend in. By pushing my own boundaries of using oil paint for the first time, investigating Parkinson’s and how it affects me, publishing my work, and remaining patient and persistent, I have discovered my capabilities. My weakest spots and hidden secrets don’t have to be considered disadvantages.
Brooklyn, New York