The original sketch for this was quickly done one morning walking around Uptown Damansara, using felt tips, water and the last dribbles of my coffee.
I think over the last two years, I have been contemplating my hasty move from New Zealand to my mother’s home country of Malaysia, and what that meant to me.
2016 – the Year of the Monkey, (my year yeee water monkeys waddup), was coming to a close. And it had been one of the most frustrating, heartbreaking and revealing years of my life. To really capture the craziness that was 2016, here are a couple things that happened on a global scale, just to jog ya memory:
Trump was elected
The Battle of Aleppo ended in a horrific siege
UK voted out of the EU
but also Pokémon Go…which was pretty cool.
Anyways, my own personal life seemed to be crumbling too. As I began to understand certain truths about myself, I saw how clouded my vision had become and I wasn’t sure what I believed anymore. I was living by my own lies and it was all so fucking arrogant and ungrateful. Anger had turned me into someone I didn’t know at all. (seriously, that bitch is impulsive and crazy and has no foresight. also she thinks she’s right about everything.) And I think I went a little bit mad in realising just how insane I actually kinda was.
Sooo, where exactly are you when you don’t know where you are?
I think it’s a fair question, and a place we all visit a couple times in our lives. People often say “seeing is believing” but they don’t say that “being is deceiving” which I think would be a really helpful phrase to ponder over and break apart. We are all a bunch of ignorant hypocrites and it would be great if we all remembered that once in a while.
It took me 2 years to come to that conclusion in a truly honest way. And obviously, I learnt a bunch of other stuff too, when I stopped truly cheating myself.
Maaan, I thought I was so strong but it was all just a guise for my naivety. It’s not an act of bravery when you have no idea what you’re doing, just talking shit and acting like you’re hard or something. It’s being honest with yourself, knowing the evil you’re capable of and choosing to go forward with purpose.
KL was an incredibly transformative experience for me. It gave me the time and space I needed to figure out so many things. I had to step up to the challenge of crafting a new life for myself, literally and metaphysically speaking.
I find this reflected in much of the poetry I wrote whilst I was there. Here are two poems I wrote over this time. Interestingly, they seem to both document different stages of death and rebirth. The first, I find myself floating above my life in bird’s eye view, making sense of it like a map, trynna see where shit went wrong. The second, I seem to be talking to my wounded inner child and encouraging her true self to creepily crawl out from the earth.
And all the while, this image just kept reoccurring to me. A crow rising up from all the things that hold you down, whether this be anger issues, your guilt and grief, your friends, your habits and addictions…
Here is the OG sketch from early 2017 and the final digital collage. It’s funny, a few people have told me the final crow looks like a chicken. Although this pains me…it is somewhat appropriate as I think the image ultimately speaks of a journey about discovering courage. It is a journey of letting go of what I was to become more of who I am.
I made the final in Italy, on my way back to England, my dad’s homeland. I’m interested to see exactly what part of me lies in wait.