Purity Ideology and Feminine Identity; New Fine Art Work: "Sleepwalking"

July 18, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

"Sleepwalking" Fine Art Photography by Jen Kiaba.Click to purchase a Limited Edition Fine Art Print.

Here's something new on the Fine Art front, and I thought I'd share a bit about this image and what I hope it might speak to for others with similar backgrounds.

This is an image that's been living in my mind for several weeks now, though it had to be shot several times as something kept being lost in translation.

I knew that I wanted to speak to purity ideology and the long term effects that had on my sense of self and my feminine identity, but my original attempts fell short.

The previous shots had looked more like a dance, but for me this image is about a sleep walking state that I often fell into internally, whether from trauma or a self-abusive state of mind.

Perhaps a better word would be "dissociated." We were taught to repress our feelings as a way of focusing on what was pure and holy. For me it would mean losing my internal compass and sense of self.

Leaving any kind of abusive background requires picking up the pieces and beginning to assimilate into a new life. But old habits and patterns can follow you for years, and there are times where I still find myself reverting back to that old sleepwalking state of being.

Feeling your feelings, after years of repression, can be like a rush of emotions all clamoring to be heard first. It's overwhelming, even terrifying at times. Repression feels like a seductive reprieve.

And that is why I take these photos and write about them. It keeps me from swallowing it all back down and going numb when something hurts or I need to process.

Delicious catharsis and relief. Mmmmm...

Once I've created an image I am able to have some emotional distance from it and see the work in a broader context beyond simply an autobiographical one. Now I see this work as speaking to the issues surrounding the un-empowered feminine spirit.

This week I hope that you stand tall and look life in the eye with clear eyed confidence <3

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