In this post I will be looking into the different aspects of the project. The main field of research that I was left with is Self-Love and its practices but I figured I’d look into the other aspects that I felt were interesting to me and I wanted to contribute towards the development of. Notably, masks, the altar and the performance of the ritual itself. But I think for the sake of having a strong basis, I will carry out the research for Self-Love as in the end, that is the focal point of the whole concept.
Self-love, defined as “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage”, has been conceptualized both as a basic human necessity and as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness, synonymous with amour propre, conceitedness, egotism, narcissism, et al. However, throughout the centuries self-love has adopted a more positive connotation through pride parades, Self Respect Movement, self-love protests, the hippie era, the modern feminist movement (3rd & 4th wave), as well as the increase in mental health awareness that promotes self-love as intrinsic to self-help and support groups working to prevent substance abuse and suicide.Wikipedia
Firstly, it’s important to note that self-love is a very broad concept and the understanding of it is different across each individual. Self love, according to an article I discovered, is based on the 6 pillars of self-fulfillment, each focusing on a different need – Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Occupational, Social and Spiritual. What I believe the case to be is that each person has their own unique threshold for each of these needs, the fulfillment of which serves as an act of self-love, filling each one of these pillars and finally the threshold itself. Each of the pillars has a connection to a key element that needs to be met in order to successfully complete the practice.
The emotional pillar relies heavily on a person’s ability to establish themselves as their own stand-alone individual capable of facing any challenge life may toss their way. The honing of independent strength. Strength of the soul.
The intellectual pillar is all about discovery and satisfying your curiosity. Discovery.
The physical pillar focuses on the development of the accessory of the mind – the body. Taking care of/properly maintaining it, nourishing and putting it to good use. Nourishment.
The occupational pillar is based around the practice that contribute to self-fulfillment in terms of the work we produce or simply the things we work on. A reach for prosperity.
The social pillar revolves around interacting with other individuals. Human interaction is crucial for self-care, but it must be practiced in a healthy manner for it to be fulfilling. Connection of kin.
The spiritual pillar is all about sinner peace and connection with nature. Harmony.
Harmony, Nourishment, Connection, Prosperity, Discovery, Strength. These are the 6 pillars that make up the threshold, which, already is so much more context to the concept than what looking up “Self-love in art” had to offer. A common trope for self-love in modern art is embracement of self, facing oneselves’ reflection, affirmation, self-satisfaction and so on.
I find it incredibly interesting how most, quite possibly 98% of all self-love, self-care related art includes imagery of feminine figures or is from the perspective of them. I think this phenomena can be interpreted in a few ways – 1) it’s much more normalized for women/woman-presenting individuals to practice self-care and self-nourishment, therefore the imagery more commonly depicts them doing it. 2) women requiring that extra scoop of self-love as they have to face the harsh reality of being looked down and being treated inequally, self-care being their only escape at times. 3) women forming a predominantly online community in which they share their experiences and empower one another.
I think, moving forward with this project, it would be interesting to consider an online forum for our self-love coven as a possible additional outcome. A sort of gathering area for anyone and everyone to share their stories about their journey to discovering self-love and what it means to them, give advice to other members who are still on the journey to getting there and hosting events that could help the members form connections outside of the forums and celebrate self-love in a more engaging way. Just with this idea we would be covering all of the pillars of self-love, so I would say it’s a good idea to consider and develop. I also think it would be a good idea to consider creating some self-love reminders in the form of posters, buildboards, pamphlets or other informative illustration outcomes. Perhaps it could also include a QR code to the forum or something among those lines.
In the post that follows I will be talking more about self-love, but this time, what it means to me and how I could potentially translate that into a visual artefact. I have a brief idea, but I feel as though it could use an update using the researach I have just done.