• Isa Benn “Milk of Magnesia”

    Date posted: April 7, 2015 Author: jolanta
    The photo series “Milk of Magnesia”

    The photo series “Milk of Magnesia”

    I grew up in a very spiritual and political family. I very much wanted to change the world. I wanted to be the next Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Theressa, but through my art. I remember being four and thinking I would surely be killed if I pursued my dream of activism and art. My father was an artist (musician and painter) and my mother was in politics – diversity training. We traveled often when my mother went into international development and it really shaped my outlook on life. I had experiences that changed my life and my concept of self. Living with my grandmother, for a few years, in Ethiopia was also life-changing. I had been very badly bullied throughout the seventh grade before being sent away to my grandmother’s for school and to recuperate. I think my mother wanted me to gain perspective, experience and greater understanding. I learned another side of privilege, entitlement and the dysfunction of the Western ideology. When I got back to North America, not only was I severely depressed, but I developed a rather serious eating disorder. I never felt like I fit in. I had never felt like I would fit in. It didn’t bother me consciously, but emotionally, I felt very out of step with my peers, once again. My art changed from deeply introspective, from my childhood, to introspective, angered and very pain-motivated. I started to encounter my body as it’s own entity. My body and physical appearance as metaphor for my life-experiences of being an outcast in North America. As I started to paint, draw, photograph and even film my body I also started to dabble in manipulation. Instead of encountering exactly my ‘self’, I started to encounter my self-concept through my art. My inspiration is moments of real stillness, being awake to life around me, my childhood and ridiculous amounts of nostalgia.

    On the pieces: Ultimately, the photo series “Milk of Magnesia” is a retrospect on life, love and loneliness. It began as a look at my body, my relationships and my “self”. When I was five years old I had my very first, memorable, existential breakdown. Twenty years later, I had my second most significant series of questioning. As a result of years of negative self-talk and no real sense of self-love, I began unwinding my ideas through manipulated photographs. “Two Girl Act Play” is a reflection of the multi-leveled or even the duality of my “self” reflection.


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