Kala Art and Design

Changing Our Wiring

By Saesha Sharda, Sophomore, 27 November 2021 Humanity does not have a lack of struggles, and nowadays chaos is dissociating into different parties, groups, and movements. Sometimes, it is important to take a step back and think about the basic things required to clear the chaos, and that is exactly what my artwork focuses on. I made this artwork for the Reflections Art contest 2021 for which I was awarded Merit of excellence. This art was an abstract representation of my thoughts. I chose watercolors and handmade paper as a medium. In my artwork, there are 4 beings shown in a setting of chaos. There are two beings pictured in the middle arguing, causing a ruckus. Being at the top, however, is productive and carries a friend across the crisis. Also pictured in the artwork is a neuron. The way neurons communicate is by passing on a message from the ends of the neuron, called axons. The arguing beings are not near the axons and therefore are not able to receive the message that is being relayed. Therefore, they are arguing, causing even more spread of confusion and chaos. The beings at the top, however, can receive that knowledge and are able to channel their love and empathy towards helping those who are struggling in the crisis.  My artwork shows that the passage out of the crisis is through human compassion and that the ignorance of information does the opposite. Take for example the battle for LGBTQ+ rights around the world. Countless studies have shown that being queer is not a choice and that individuals in the LGBTQ+ community do not deserve to be discriminated against. This aspect represents the logical component. We can also listen to and learn from the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and empathize with their struggles. This aspect represents the empathetic component. Bigots who despise individuals of the LGBTQ+ community ignore the information, which leads to assumptions and the spreading of hate. We must clear the chaos by collectively looking at information and empathizing with others; We must change our wiring.

Chaos in Oneself

By- Saesha Sharda, Freshman, 2020 “Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that the better for us all.”  — Erik Erikson In the present artwork, I have chosen to write focuses on the struggles of having bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme swings of high and low moods. The high mood is known as the manic phase, and the low mood is known as the depressive phase(“Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment.”).  In my painting, I have shown two human-resembling figures balancing on each others’ backs, connected by the brain and heart. One figure is blue and has a heart painted on its chest. This figure represents the depressive phase, as blues and purples usually represent sad, somber moods. The other figure, which is yellow and has a brain painted in its head, represents the manic phase, as we normally pair the color yellow with high energy. The reason the heart and brain are shown is to represent their connection: Rational thinking (the brain) and Emotions (the heart). The figures are part of the same person, symbolizing how the two phases occur to the same person, affecting the same person, making it especially hard to get through daily life.  The reason I wanted to create this painting was that I am passionate about raising awareness about not only bipolar disorder, but mental health issues in general. It is so important that we spread the word about mental illnesses and coping with them so that we can break the stigma that surrounds them. Stigma is a word to describe the social disapproval or discrimination against a person based on their characteristics, physical or mental. It is the fear of the stigma that keeps people suffering from mental health issues from coming forward about their struggles. In the Indian community especially, stigma against mental health issues is very apparent. The more we talk about it, the closer we are to helping someone cope with their mental illness and even saving lives. Submitting my painting to Vosap’s International Competition about disabilities was the perfect opportunity to share my art, and spread awareness about mental health issues.   Work Cited: “Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/mental-health-bipolar-disorder#:~:text=Bipolar%20disorder%2C%20also%20known%20as,sad%2C%20hopeless%2C%20and%20sluggish.