"Before creating this series I had been thinking a lot about the past and memories and how they can still hold great emotional power over us, despite processing the actual events themselves. It made me question, can we ever fully process trauma if we will always have the memories of the experience and nothing we do will ever change the fact that these events or emotions were felt? Can we hold new-found Joy and peace whilst remembering sadness? Can these emotions co-exist?
During Covid-19 I finished a series of acrylic paintings called ‘I mourn for you.’ Each one depicts a different scene and conveys what I believe to have been the most impactful and influential moments of my life. Within each painting there is another figure painted in black and white representing a present version of myself venturing into the past scenes. In each painting she is depicted weeping at the feet or on the past versions of myself. This was done to convey the greatest moment of self-care I have had for myself which was allowing myself to mourn and cry over the things I had been through, rather than brushing them under the carpet, undermining them or suppressing them. The series 'Goodbye hug it's ok to forget' depicts the same scenes, but in the next stage of processing- forgetting.
They say that time is the biggest healer, and I believe that this is true especially with trauma where you have distance from the events and can begin to see your life objectively and not define yourself by your trauma or mental illness. The paintings depict the same three scenes from the series ‘I mourn for you,’ but instead, the present version of myself is hugging the past version of myself, they are embracing – hugging goodbye. It depicts the feeling that is present in my mind a lot at the moment which is allowing myself to forget the things I have been through, not in a way that does not acknowledge that they happened, but in the way that those feelings, emotions and scenarios that I was once in are not happening anymore and therefore, the memories no longer need to have hold on me and I am allowed to move on and forget without feeling guilty to the younger version of myself"
'Goodbye Hug, its ok to forget' by Sophy Lewis
100cm x 60cm acrylic on canvas.