Be Well: The Art of Self-Care

The student art gallery in the UGL is inaccessible to all of us for the time being. But we didn’t want to let that stop us from showcasing artwork by some of the talented students at our University. After a call for submissions this summer, we have selected a couple of pieces to exhibit here. Both works beautifully align with our theme Be Well: The Art of Self-Care. They go beyond the idea of self-care as something you can buy, like an expensive facial or a fancy candle. Don’t get me wrong, expensive facials and fancy candles are great. But truly caring for ourselves and our communities, especially during a pandemic, requires digging a little deeper into the meanings and possibilities of self-care. These artists show us that engaging in self-care can mean asking yourself difficult questions and responding with compassion and remembering that all our well-beings are interconnected.

Samuel Feathers

Red flower with branching vines on a speckled grey/black background. Paint drips down from vines, the flower, and the top of the painting.

“everything’s greener when you’re colorblind” Simulated watercolor. 2020.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

“Done during the initial weeks of COVID-19 before I could go home. During that time, I was isolated alone on campus. I already was having respiratory issues from unrelated causes, so paranoia was starting to set in about getting infected, and it got me into a bad head space. For me, it’s super important to go out and make the best of a bad situation, but stopping to smell the roses in this case felt dangerous. As I got to a better place mentally, I started viewing the piece differently. Starting out, I could only really focus on the grime and imperfections, the flower and green vines were secondary. Now, the petals and gold of the flower are what I look to first. There’s pleasant and rough parts to it, but they are all mixed together. Like the quarantine, what you focus on determines how you interact with it. Do you make a choice to focus on the positives, or do the negatives grab your attention? Keeping that question in mind is how I make sure I’m taking care of myself.

It fits the theme not in a depiction of self-care, but as a question. How are you choosing to interact with the world right now? Are you choosing to focus on the bad? Or are you treating yourself with love and compassion and focusing on the good in the world, even though it is scary and confusing right now? It’s so easy to get down, so treat yourself with care and make a conscious effort to stay positive!”


Tiffany Teng

A person wearing blue with their head tilted back receives a massage from their mother, seated above them, wearing green and a cross necklace.

“Her Healing Hands” Watercolor. 2020.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

“Remember the healing and provisions that your friends and family have restored you with throughout your years together, and use it to look after one another as sheltering in place threatens to wear us down.

I recently had a migraine due to various factors including a lack of self-care. So, I gave myself a day of rest but didn’t feel well until my mother responded to my discomfort with an incredible head massage. As independent and self-reliant as we may want to be, we’re relational beings. We can’t uphold our well-being on our own. Part of self-care is not only knowing our own limits but also knowing that our well-being is made up of relationships. The relationships we have with family and friends are the passages that bring us love and care from others to build up our health.

Part of being well is knowing how to practice self-care with others. This piece illustrates one of the moments I relaxed with my mom, just chatting and massaging one another. In those moments, I often feel comfortable and at peace.”


Thank you to the artists for sharing their work. If you’d like to keep viewing, making, and learning about art from a safe distance, check out these resources:

 

Written by: Izzy

Edited by: Nicole

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Digital Book Display: Black Lives Matter

There are countless lists of books addressing issues of systemic racism, internal bias, police brutality, and the prison-industrial complex, but the books themselves might not be as easy to find. Many of these books are on backorder or have overwhelmingly long waitlists, as bookstores and libraries around the country are facing a demand larger than their supply. Having an abundance of people wanting to educate themselves is an excellent problem to have! Following is a list of books (in no particular order) that are available online for free, so you don’t have to wait to start exploring these important topics.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Written as a letter to his teenage son, Coates explores his own experiences confronting American history and ideals. Intensely personal, this book focuses on lived experience and finding one’s place in a world while carrying generations of pain. This book is temporarily available in our library catalog through HathiTrust, requiring your NetID and password.

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color edited by Cherríe L. Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa

This collection is a feminist anthology on the intersectionality of gender, race, sexuality, immigration status, and other identities. A mix of personal essays, poetry, interviews, and stories, this book brings to focus the importance of a feminism that liberates all. This book is temporarily available in our library catalog through HathiTrust, requiring your NetID and password. 

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis

Looking at the history and evolution of our prison system, Davis breaks down complex issues in an easy-to-understand way. She examines the interactions of politics, economics, race, gender, and incarceration, and offers new ways to think about crime and punishment. This book is temporarily available in our library catalog through HathiTrust, requiring your NetID and password.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (audiobook)

This critique of the criminal justice system challenges the belief of a post-racial society. Well-researched and thoughtful, Alexander discusses many issues faced by Black Americans and examines the intention behind our systems. This audiobook is available in our catalog through RB Digital, requiring you to create an account.

Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly about Racism in America by George Yancy

After writing an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Dear White America,” Yancy faced backlash beyond his expectations. This book asks white Americans to face the ways they have benefited from racism, and it looks to understand why his article was met with so much controversy. This book is available in our catalog through ProQuest Ebook Central and can be read online, or downloaded using a third-party software.

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States Edited by Joe Macaré, Maya Schenwar, and Alana Yu-lan Price

From specific stories to policies and research, this book looks at how the recent police killings of Black individuals fit into a larger context of policing. It has contributions from many writers and offers solutions to the institutional treatment of Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, mental illness, pregnancy, queerness, and more. This book is temporarily available for free through the publisher.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (audiobook)

Covering the long history of racist ideas in America, this book displays how racism was purposefully created for power and economic gain. Kendi offers an understanding of how we got here, and gives us tools for how we can move forward. This audiobook is temporarily available for free on Spotify. 

Let us know what you think!

 

Written and edited by Nicole

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