CATHARSIS – 16/16 Lagos

Group show W/Ramon Shitta & Stacey Okparavero
4 JUNE 2017

Drawing has been the only constant in my life. It is the method through which I process what is happening in and around me. I always find it quite fascinating when people like something that I have made, because I draw to answer questions I have about events in my life. My process is simple. When I feel as though there is something I need to think about, I pick up a pencil and start sketching. I continue to sketch until I feel the urge to stop. Most times it is not until a few days later that I am able to objectively look at the drawing and understand what is happening within it.

I hate to admit to it, but I struggle with life most days. I have a hard time doing anything unless there is strong purpose behind it. Recently I started to realize that the thoughts that occupy my head most of the time the majority of people do not ponder. I do not think it is intentional but the stresses of life do not leave time for the contemplation of the deeper topics of life. For the longest time, I was ashamed of this part of my personality but it is this very quirk that has given me the ability to analyze my surroundings and let me produce the drawings that I do.

In 2015 I spent 7 months in Chicago working on pursuing one of the dreams I had for a while. This was simply because I needed to change and I was tried of feeling blank. In the months leading up to my departure, I was disabled by life. I sat on the couch and was unable to do really much of anything. I felt like an empty shell going though the motions of life. My body was moving and doing everything it should but I was devoid of all feeling and emotions at the same time. I had struggled with depression since 2009 when I went to college and multiple times since then but I was noticing that each episode was getting more and more intense. It was though and it felt like watching myself die but there was nothing I was able to do to stop or reverse the process. It was in these moments I went through CBT therapy for the first time and started realizing the importance of mental health.

For those who do not understand the need mental health or therapy, I try to explain it like going to any doctor for a health problem. They talk to you and assess what is going on and prescribe a treatment that will best suit you. The same way not all doctors can solve your specific problem, not all mental health specialists are the same. During a therapy session all that happens in is that you talk to someone who has experience with the human condition and they help you understand what is going on within yourself.  Sometimes you get medicine if it seems as though you may benefit from using it. That is about all.

You are only seeing these sketches today because the psychiatrist that picked me up and put me together during my depression showed me that my life was valuable. There is no shame in asking for help when things get tough and a little too confusing for you to handle by yourself.

This series of drawings came out of a 3 month period I spent in Chicago in 2016. Due to an ineptitude of the Nigerian health system I had to go to “the abroad” for a treatment. I had time to think about my life from childhood to the current moment in effort to understand why it is that I continually feel devoid of most emotions and sensations.

The drawings explore identity, loss & discovery, growing up on your own terms and rejecting norms as you try to forge your own path.

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