As The Looking Glass: An Introspection at Minority and Traumatized Identities

April 4, 2021   /  

Name: Indigo Adobea Abenda Joy Quashie
Major: Studio Art
Minor: Education
Advisor: Dr. Marina Mangubi

Most Creative Video Award

As The Looking Glass was a form of self-care. In the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I found it necessary to transform this project into a tool of healing rather than additional stress during this academic year. ATLG consists of 30 sequential self-portraits, 30 corresponding journal entries, a 11-minute narrative film, and several pages of art and poetry. These portraits displayed how I perceived myself in regards to my attitudes, identities, and past experiences. I found that the best way to explore this was through three things: Meditation, bold colors and styles, and unfiltered writing. This collection of work covers topics like sexual trauma, spiritual growth, and gender identity. Each day between December 12th, 2020 and January 11th, 2021 was dedicated to a specific topic. My daily routine was to meditate for a half hour, journal for 10 minutes, then paint a portrait for however long it took.

While this was a very self-centered project, I wanted to bring my audience into the journey, and this was represented by painting my portraits on mirrors as well as presenting my journal in the gallery space. While looking at my jealousy portrait, would a person’s reflection cause them to consider their own jealousy? My final mirror tile holds no portrait because it expresses the security I felt towards myself by the end of this project. I want the audience to see their own beauty reflected back to them in that same tile, feeling secure about themselves in those moments.

ATLG was not a replacement for therapy, but was a catalyst towards implementing healing into my daily life, as well as a broader conversation about race, gender, and sexuality . I hope that it inspires others to do the same.

Indigo will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST 9-11am, Africa/Europe: early evening) and 4-6 pm EDT (PST 1-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening)

40 thoughts on “As The Looking Glass: An Introspection at Minority and Traumatized Identities”

  1. Indigo, I don’t even know where to start. Your video was so powerful and as you read the letter to little Indigo I also felt like you were speaking to little Stachal. Your art piece is incredible and extremely personal. You touched on so many important aspects of life! I will definitely be practicing some self-care.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you were able to connect with my video. Though it’s simultaneously bittersweet to learn that women, especially Black women, have stories like these.

      Self-care is, and there are so many ways to approach it. Take advantage of this first summer we’ll ever have without school! <3

  2. Wow, this project is breathtaking! It is such an honor to see you succeed like this Indigo!

  3. Indigo, thank you so much for your vulnerable work. I cannot imagine how difficult this project was for you to work through, but I am so grateful to witness it. Your ability to share your story is inspiring. You are incredible!

  4. This was absolutely incredible, and inspiring, you are amazing! Congratulations, Indigo.

  5. Dear Indigo,
    Thank you for the courage and strength you share through your art. The methodical approach of your journey is inspiring. Set a plan, take the time, do the work…..and arrive at a whole new awareness.
    All my best to you!

    1. Thank you so much, Jodi!
      You have no idea how much your comments on my work kept me going throughout the past few months, and reminded me that what I was doing was worth it <3

  6. It’s so exciting to see everyone in the department finish their ISs and to see where they’ve ended up. Your concept from start to finish is incredible and vulnerable. In following along with your work throughout the process I’ve seen how continued to fight for ideas and get your feelings out there. Awesome work 🙂

    1. I know!! I’m so proud of all of our seniors, especially since staying creative during this pandemic is EXTREMELY hard. For a while I was battling how much info about myself I wanted to put out there, but then I realized that there might be someone out there who needs to hear that they are not alone in their story.

      1. I just have to respond to that last line you said because it’s so true and important! There is always someone out there who might resonate with something you say and that something you might say could stay with them forever. I think often times people downplay how important the things they say are (wether positive or negative) so I always try to appreciate when others put themselves out there.

  7. I can definitely see why you won the most creative video award. Absolutely breathtaking. The video is a work of art alongside the other art you have created.

  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful and vulnerable project. I have always admired the work that you do and the poetry/art you’ve shared with campus. I wish you so much support and joy moving forward!

  9. Congratulations! Definitely deserving of the “Most Creative Video” Award. This level of vulnerability expressed in the form of a letter to your younger self is not only incredibly creative, but extremely inspiring. And every bit of it shows in the artwork you were able to create from it. So incredibly proud of you!

  10. Congrats again Indigo. I am so proud of you for the work that you’ve presented here and even prouder of the consistent work that it has taken to reach the point where you’re at. This entire project is *chef’s kiss* and its excellence is a reflection of you. 🖤🖤🖤

  11. Indigo, wow, this is so powerful. And that you stuck to your method for 30 days is impressive. What guided your daily journaling? Did you have different prompts that you followed? Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hey Ryan!

      So I actually had 30 pre-determined prompts before starting my project that consistent of a range of things like my sexuality, being the “mom-friend” in social situations, and breaking the emotional blockage I was holding on myself. It was REALLY tough to end each day with the exercise, but at the end of the month I felt so much lighter and more secure in myself.

      I wanted to wait until I had more professional shots of each self-portrait to post them, so those will be up within the next few weeks! For now I’m just showing my favorites.

  12. Indigo, your work is powerful! So much courage, vulnerability, creativity and capacity for self reflection and self discovery….Was moved by your video and art work. Congratulations on winning the award!

  13. You deserve every single award and all the positivity and praise!!! This is mind blowing and I am so moved by your work. I knew you were going to crush it and you smashed it out of the damn park, enjoy camp woo! I love you!

  14. Thank you for allowing us to experience and share a time of your healing. Your personal story speaks on the experiences of many! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, Indigo 🙂

  15. Am I crying under my mask in the pit right now? Absolutely.

    The beauty and rawness of this practice in honoring and exploring has me breathless but not surprised. You bring such grace and strength and authenticity in everything you do.

  16. Indigo this was beautiful and really resonated with me, I appreciate your vulnerability in sharing this story and artwork, and I’m glad that it helped uplift you.
    A question I had was whether or not you have continued journaling and being more introspective after the completion of this project, or picked up other therapeutic habits. If so, how have they impacted your daily life?

  17. Phenomenal, powerful….there really aren’t enough adjectives for this project. Congratulations on your award!

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