Ballpoint pen, ink on paper, collage, gold flakes, upcycled frame
33cm (w) x 28cm (h)
Each of the three anxiety traumascapes ‘Anxiety 5-HTT - Try not to worry’, ‘Anxiety MAOA - Always tired’, and ‘Anxiety BDNF - I am alone’ are designed as complimentary to ‘Depression’. They are each named after anxiety-relevant endophenotypes (a gene linked to predisposition to GAD) then accompanied by a common colloquial complaint of someone who suffers from anxiety. This is to reinforce the idea that the condition is likely to be multifactorial in nature at extremely personal. In each piece there is a drawing of one half of a paired chromosome, the titled gene identified in gold. E.g. 'Anxiety 5-HTT - Try not to worry' shows the 5-HTT gene in gold on chromosome 17 at position 17q11.1-12. It also echoes a common frustrating comment made to people with anxiety 'try not to worry', as if they an control their illness. This assigns an element of blame on the sufferer and may pepetuate the condition.The broader look and feel of the pieces are meant to loosely reflect the shape of chromosomes, echoing genetic contribution to anxiety. Crooked edges of black and white, banded in strips across the page. Also, the addition of two intersecting lines, ‘X’ like, dividing the piece into segments asking the question can we divide and categorise GAD into such black and white sections? The addition of small words are deliberately place in different sections, reflecting the feeling of isolation, panic, and disjointedness a person with anxiety feels. Some of these words are emotive, such as ‘trapped’ and ‘worry’, others are more descriptive such as ‘abuse’ and ‘neglect’ highlighting some of the potential situational factors contributing to anxiety. The three pieces seen together are designed to ask the question ‘to what extent is anxiety, me?’. Am I born like this? Has my life made me like this? Am I overthinking, can everything be so black and white, so clear cut? Can I learn to accept that life is complicated and how to deal with these anxiety inducing situations? These questions may bring hope, or resignation of the viewer depending on how they interpret this display of anxiety. An articulate expression I had in mind when creating these artworks was the German phrase “Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende,” translated to 'Rather an end with terror than a terror without end.'