A self portrait

A self portrait

Kesina Ejoor

Critical commentary

This piece is inspired by Joseph Lee’s oil and pastel on canvas In the Flesh (2018). Lee’s technique of solid strokes is grounded in human expression and observation, thus fully encapsulating the projections of my mind.

This piece started with an inability to recognise my face. Whenever I saw my likeness in a photograph or a passing car, my brows wrinkled and I wondered, ‘Is that what I look like?’

I thought this was normal but when this forgetfulness started affecting my daily life through a series of lost conversations, difficult paying attention, time slipping capsules, I began having questions. It was like existing as an out-of-body projection with another; my consciousness and my body, two different beings that I had convinced myself were the same. The blurred-out features and large strokes I have incorporated, define the fuzziness of my features in my memory. It is a face that morphs into something new anytime the apertures of my mind focus on me.

The creation process was riddled with the recurring thought, ‘Do I love myself?’ I did, I always knew I had. While merging my features I was assaulted with the second thought, ‘Do I respect myself?’ The answer is one of the things I pushed to the back of my mind. It wasn’t that I didn’t love myself, but I never thought that focusing on every part of me was important.

The realisation did not hurt me as much as I expected it. And I think that was a second awakening.

These conversations and thoughts are a form of self-care and therefore important to have with ourselves occasionally.


Lee, J. (2018). In the Flesh. [Oil and Pastel on Canvas]. Available at: https://www.josephleeart.com/paintings (Assessed 06 March 2021)