My journey in art has allowed me to discover myself – LakeshWWa Chapman

Lakesha with her final project, depicting the thoughts of a person with schizoid personality disorder

By Lakhram Bhagirat

It quite often takes us years to really discover and accept ourselves for who we are. Some of us are quite fortunate to make this discovery early in life while some make the discovery later on in life.

It does not matter when or how you make this discovery but what really matters is accepting you for who you are. This has been the journey for Lakesha Chapman and she has been able to discover herself through art.

She discovered that she is talented, beautiful, caring, smart, kind and a whole host of other things and she is using her voice (art) to showcase that there is beauty in even the most flawed.

The 21-year-old Mahaicony native is a final year student at the Burrowes School of Art and said that the school has provided her with a safe space for self-discovery.
“This year was kind of a journey for me because while learning new things I got the opportunity to figure out who I am and embracing who I was. So my artwork is part of telling a story and communicating in ways I can’t communicate with others while also me loving myself,” she said.

Lakesha has always been artistic and was never told to suppress her creativity. Rather, it was her mother who kept pushing her towards the creative sphere and in the end, she enrolled at Burrowes to find her place in the creative world.

“They introduced me to different categories of art like sculpting and painting and leather craft and jewellery making and I fell in love with it. I discovered that in the midst of making art that everyone have their own opinion and it is all about what you want to display and all about the story you want to tell. And although people may come around and say you could have done this that way and you should do that this way, at the end of it all is what you want to say and the story you want to tell. You can listen to their opinion but it is up to you if you want to take the advice,” she said.

For Lakesha, art means therapy and it helps to relax her while allowing her the freedom to embrace herself. She believes that art is life and everyone breathing engages in art without even knowing it.

The young artist is also very keen on the message she puts out through her art. She carefully researches topics and creates themes to highlight that and one of the major aspects she focuses on is mental health.
She believes that the mental health spectrum is vastly unexplored and through her work she hopes to identify what persons with mental health issues are going through in the hopes of sparking conversations that may lead to action.

It is no lie that in Guyana and the wider Caribbean society, mental health and its related illnesses are frowned upon and persons who suffer from these issues are quite often stigmatised.

For that very reason, Lakesha focused her entire final project on mental illness and particularly schizoid personality disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, schizoid personality disorder is an uncommon condition in which people avoid social activities and consistently shy away from interaction with others. They also have a limited range of emotional expression.

If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may be seen as a loner or dismissive of others, and you may lack the desire or skill to form close personal relationships. Because you do not tend to show emotion, you may appear as though you do not care about others or what’s going on around you. The cause of schizoid personality disorder is unknown. Talk therapy, and in some cases medications, can help.

“My final piece is about exploring mental health through art. It is about schizoid personality disorder. It is a disorder that many do not know about, it’s a disorder where people are withdrawn from reality and they are introverts and they don’t function well when it comes to forming conversations and I try to do my part to create that reality most of them would create for themselves, a comfort zone and I try to show a representation of what they may be feeling. It took 10-12 months because each piece had to be worked on by themselves because it was also about research and then linking that to the message being portrayed on the canvas.”

If you want to get into contact with Lakesha to purchase her artwork, you can contact her on 654-4043.