Mirror of Disenchantment (Self Portrait as Lilith) Acrylic and Spray Paint on Wall 12 by 10 Feet. 2017. This mural is part of The Chronicles of Failure Installation, a project that is unfolding through multiple mediums, exhibition opportunities, and residencies. In this installation I am working in painting, sculpture, stop motion animation, performance and works on paper. This installation investigates political and personal failure or perceptions of failure in the age of curated social media. In this installation I have made paintings entitled Mirrors of Disenchantment, where I paint a self-portrait looking into a mirror that reveals insecurities, feelings of failure, anxiety, trauma, and shame. Each reflection shows a mythological womon that is traditionally shown as grotesque. I am interested in their wisdom and what they must teach us about failure and success.
This mural shows me as Lilith. Lilith is a mythological figure from the Kabbalah who was the first wife of Adam. Adam expelled her when she would not act subserviently towards him and insisted on her independence. Traditionally Lilith is a demonic figure who steals the souls of newborns because she is jealous of Eve’s ability to give birth. Modern feminists have made Lilith into a feminist icon who is raped by Adam and expelled from the Garden of Eden, despite fighting valiantly. It is this version of Lilith that I work with. Furthermore, in my own interpretations of Lilith in my work I pair her with Eve. This becomes the reason Adam wants to expel her. Lilith is both fierce and vulnerable and this dichotomy is a perfect metaphor for what I am trying to express in this mural. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity I had to work on this scale to create a relationship between myself and my reflection that expressed Lilith’s (and my own) simultaneously existing ferocity and vulnerability.
I am particularly interested in and enraged by the way that womyn, queer people, differently abled people, and people of color are made to feel like failures if they do not live up to society’s expectations of perfection in arenas of career, academia, relationships, family, and pretty much everything else. By exposing my own struggle with feelings of failure and worthlessness I hope to question the cultural double standards we hold those with marginalized identities to. In our quest to prove our equality and in our public representations of our lives we create avatars of perfect achievement that cannot possibly be realized. I wish to open this conversation in this mural and installation.