fi ibanuje se erin / from grief to happiness?, 2023

acrylic on canvas 

36” x 36”

In the past week, I have received news from 3 people that I know about the loss of a family member- although I cannot directly feel their pain, i feel for them- I started thinking about the depths of human suffering and how universal that feeling is.  I am very interested in What does it mean to lose? this work is truly to exploreThe feeling of loss which extends beyond the physical absence of a loved one, loss that encompasses a fundamental shift in identity, connection, and purpose. 

This work "fi ibanuje se erin" is an expression that I have approximated and decontextualized to mean ‘turn grief into happiness” in English- What does it mean to lose? What are the ebb and flow of emotions that come with grief? How does one accept the loss of someone close to them? What does healing look like? How does one get to happiness? Can you get to happiness? These were the initial questions I had when It came to developing this work. 

“fi ibanuje se erin / from grief to happiness” is a profound exploration of grief and loss, inspired by the personal experiences of those within my community and the universal, collective human condition. I was also thinking about how grief and loss continues to affect those around me- especially in the last month, baltimore has felt loss deeply. I have watched some of the folks that I know, truly experience loss of their loved ones, sister, aunt, friend, uncle etc and this work is really about the important and underlying need for action, for care, for nurture during these times. 

What does freedom look like? How can acceptance, resilience, and the gradual mending of the emotional, spritual and physical self happen within ourselves? within the community? In spaces where we can physically reach and in spaces where we cannot. How can we begin to foster, propagate, and propel healing for one another? Can we ever get to healing? will it be possible to ever get to happiness? 

These are the questions that I engage with in this work. For me, I do not have all the answers but I do know that grief connects us all. Grief is not merely an emotional response to loss but rather a powerful revelation of our own mortality. When we grieve, we confront the unassailable truth that life, with all its beauty and complexity, is transient.