Virtual exhibition and artist talk with painter Memuna McShane. Her large canvases are her way of taking ownership of her pain and accepting a heavy and very traumatizing, non-existent childhood. She will discuss how painting has been her therapy. The world isn't all rainbows and cookies. There is darkness. And I include that darkness in my paintings.
Memuna McShane is a painter based in Baltimore Maryland. She was born in Sierra Leone in 1996, during a period of Civil War. She later moved to the United States, was adopted at the age of 6 and grew up in Washington, D.C with her adoptive family. She completed a BFA in Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in December 2019, and is pursuing multiple creative paths while defining her own life narrative.
I am taking ownership of my pain after finally being able to accept that I had a heavy and very traumatizing, non-existent childhood. I suffered great loss both physically and mentally. I lost my arm and family, but most important of all, I lost my self. I pushed my pain back - out of sight, out of mind was my thinking - and I grew up with a part of myself broken and not healed. The people around me couldn't handle my pain so I hid it so deep within me that I couldn't even access it when I wanted to. I could only access that part of me through triggers. My emotions and the ability to love were closed off because in the environment I grew up in loving someone was dangerous, and it meant they would leave you when you needed them the most. I realized in order for me to freely open up and let all my emotions go through me I needed to accept that I have pain - extreme pain in me.
The images from my paintings come from deep within myself. I start with a vision of the painting, which may be realistic or fantastical. Once I start a painting my hand takes over and I stop thinking. I let raw emotions come out, without thinking about technical application. My symbolized paintings are drawn on raw canvas, at large scale, and then I complete them with color and detail.
It is hard for me to feel my own emotions and my hand transcribes them into my paintings. I paint to feel things that I normally don't feel. I hope that the viewers can see what I feel and feel it themselves. I'm a simple person with simple pleasures. The world isn't all rainbows and cookies. There is darkness. And I include that darkness in my paintings. Painting has been my therapy.