Visions & Voices

(Art Review :: Volume 6)


This exhibition of my artworks retells the story of my life’s journey with auditory and visual hallucinations that have influenced me ever since I was a teenager. They have been a subject of interest after following my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. In my work, I deconstruct the many traumas in my life through dream symbols, shamanism, tantra, mythologies, the ethereal and supernatural. Creatures from these themes have been central to my thoughts and are considered to be delusionary. However they are essential keys to unlock one’s search of truth and decoding illusions, especially where the lines between the saint and the madman is drawn by society.

The displays have mostly been created during episodes of psychosis or seizures, so there are no planned pieces and very few have used references. There are distinct repetitive line patterns in the pen work influenced by fractal theory as my hope to find my home planet. Feather-like brush work in the paintings are my signature strokes, first started when the voices forced me to paint. They suggest racing thoughts, which I redefine as diffused thinking, allowing me to gather all of my anxiety and muddled emotions into an image to help me understand and heal from the underlying trauma.

The mediums used vary from ball point pen, poster, fabric, acrylic, charcoal, ink, pencils. Digital prints on display are recreated pieces of art works that I have destroyed due to constant inner turmoil. The ability to recreate what is destroyed and offer them a different life allowed me to rebirth myself.

These are few selected pieces drawn from over 20 years of my experience which I’ve pulled out from under my bed. Each piece has a story to tell in redefining life, moving beyond the ordinary perception and finding spiritual evolution. They have been carefully selected to depict the Language of Madness, an already published research paper that explains schizophrenia through existential psychology, Buddhism and philosophy.

– Reshma Valliappan

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Nityaasha Foundation