One Worm at a Time: Armisey Smith

Sep 10, 2015 - May 15, 2016

This series of murals tells the story of a person of color navigating mental illness, working through the stigma and taking the journey through this disability to find balance, peace, and resilience.  Armisey Smith is a Newark-based illustrator, graphic designer, curator, and painter.

Armisey Smith writes:

An acknowledgement of my biological shortcomings has always been an undercurrent in my work.  Although I was trained as an illustrator, I spoke to issues related to race, gender, sexuality and now the mental and physical well-being of African-American women.  My latest body of work depicts the struggle between mind and body.  Art-making is a mechanism which speaks to my clinical depression and serves to illuminate/dispel stigmas related to clinical depression in women of color. Historically black women are labeled with the “Strong Black Woman” moniker; thereby irresponsibly undermining potential mental disorders. Embracing the “Strong Black Woman” mantle means vulnerability within social and familial circles.

I choose to expose the organic and chemical disjunction of the mind/body with individual amorphous shapes layered with paint and objects sealed in resin. These shapes obliquely resemble neural pathways, cell structures, organs and musculature; the components of which make us human yet fallible. The movement or sculptural relief of each individual piece further emphasizes the disconnection between mind and body.  Eventually, by physical movement of the pieces or the convergence of the mind’s eye, the re-association begins. 

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