Seeing the world through many eyes.

So. I have a fractious and somewhat controversial disorder. I have two mental disorders actually, but one is far less fractious and controversial (until you look at treatment methods and then phew! The controversy comes back). I have post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. I could hide those diagnoses from everyone because…that’s what people do. They hide this stuff. They hide it from loved ones and employers and clients and even medical professionals (I know I do, sometimes, because dealing with the stigma from medical professionals is its own kind of special pain).

But the problem I have, is that both disorders so obviously inform my artwork. Particularly my ‘DID series’ (for lack of a better name). Which involves illustrating my perceptions of my differentiated alters, or personalities, or whatever you want to call them (figments of my imagination, whatever).

I’ve been working on an internal set of twins lately. Gil, and Gilda. In this picture, Gil is clearly finished, but Gilda is only just starting to emerge.

Gil and Gilda (copyright to Ravenari/Pia Van Ravestein)

I find this series quite challenging, but it is important for me to express myself in this manner. It can’t all be totems and animals all the time. And yet; it can be. In Gil’s picture you will see the (pretty much) extinct lesser stick-nest rat, and in Gilda’s, the extinct pig-footed bandicoot.

The idea that my alters exist inside of me only and are pretty much ‘extinct’ personalities that will never have their own body, or their own life independently of me… it reminds me of how human beings hang onto extinct animals. They wish they were still alive, they try and bring them back, they celebrate what will (very likely) never be again.

My dissociative identities live and breathe through me, in the same way that extinct animals do when I illustrate them. I am drawing people who are dead and alive. It is hard to explain. But what can I do but try?

My art tries to do it for me.

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