Anita: Expressing Emotions Through Art

Anita finds that her art helps to release negative emotions resulting from challenges in caring for her daughters. In the summer after Serena’s first hospitalization, Anita worked on an art exhibition on mental illness and brought Serena along to help put the exhibition together. As she struggled to find answers to the behavior of Nina, her younger daughter, Anita visualized her emotions through her art.

I made mostly eggs because the whole thing of mental illness felt fragile to me. It was like this need to encase, enclose, protect not only them, but our family, that whole experience. Also not knowing what this is—like the mystery of an egg. What’s going to happen and the hope you have for an egg and how that changes. One piece I made was an egg with a hole through it and that to me represented a punch in the gut. I experienced confusion, frustration, and anger over what appeared to be Nina’s deceit and lack of follow through. Oh my God. What’s going on? When I understood more, it was this window. The hole was like this window that led to compassion versus anger. I also did another egg of me with my mouth wide open screaming because of this anger until I understood. Because she seemed so functional, I felt like she was just messing with us. She wouldn’t open up and we couldn’t understand.

More of the Story: Trying to Find Answers