Lisa Coetzee

I find these words by Tracey Emin taken from her autobiography Strangeland evocative and somewhat a theme for where I currently find myself: “The words went round and round and round in my mind and my body until I knew they were no longer my words but something that had been carved into my heart. And now my soul was crying.” As someone with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder, words circulate in my mind constantly, often creating an overwhelming feeling of debilitating misery and loneliness. Words that I speak to myself and those that others have uttered over me have been floating in my mind and body in ways that I am only just beginning to understand. Like Emin, I feel like my soul is crying. My work attempts to try to face my tears. They are becoming tears of strength. After the last two traumatic years of my life, I feel that I can process. Processing allows for moments of interrogation into how I make sense of myself and the space that I occupy within my context as a woman. Being deeply connected to and engrossed in the process of making, I uncover an ‘otherness’ within myself. A somewhat unknown otherness, but through this discovery, an opening into a revelatory experience beckons and I try to hear myself with my eyes. I mention process, processing and 'the process' as interlocking phrases or ideas, of which they are. Yet, there are nuances within these words as they manifest themselves within my studio practice. For me, process refers to notions of materiality, the act of mark-making, colour exploration and being aware of the limits which my body and mental health foster in a given moment. 'The process' feels like a combination of the bliss I experience immersed in materiality and the need to understand how I embody painful concepts at the same time.

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