During adolescence, I began to fully develop my painting skills and gradually moved from watercolors to acrylic. For me, this signified my transition to try more sophisticated and challenging projects that would eventually become a profession. I also began to discover my identity by understanding my ethnic/cultural values and individual views. Being a second-generation Indian American, I cultivated a bicultural identity where my values were based on the collective experience of the eastern culture and the autonomous, free-spirited experience of the western culture. This stage of my life also was influenced by major political and social events such as 9/11, the wars in the middle east, the recession, and the housing bubble. For the sake of academics, I wouldn’t delve further into these divisive issues. However, these influences helped me develop a multidimensional perspective of where I am now and what my purpose will be.
Thandie Newton’s ted talk truly resonated with me for she had experiences that I could relate to. When I started painting and sharing my artwork with others, I felt completely immersed into my connection with my art with little regard to my ego. Simply creating while being in the moment has been my way of taking care of myself. Interestingly enough, my art symbolized my own spiritual and emotional growth. Thus, this self-transcendence was evident as it reflected in my art work.
"The Lonely Tree"- Age 12
In the first photograph, I used watercolors to create an impressionistic picture of a tree from a forest. The tree in the foreground represents individuality while the trees in the background symbolize collectivity. I played with the watercolors by creating various shades of green and browns as well as pthalocyaline blue. The purpose of these colors was to create values that would give it a realistic yet impressionistic appearance. This painting also represents my early adolescence when I started to individuate.
In the second photograph is my acrylic painting of a heart which is an abstract representation of me breaking out of my shell. This symbolizes my early adulthood as I eventually came to see new possibilities (hence the light in the background emanating from the heart) while I was a freshman in college. The red colors reconnect back to my tendency of liking bold and bright colors which is why I used a combination of reds and yellows in the background.
Brofenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory
Using Brofenbrenner’s theoretical framework, the events around me served to help formulate my identity. In the microsystem, my family, especially my siblings, were my role models in instilling their values on to me. Since I come from an East Indian family, most of my values were 70% derived from my parents; however, because my siblings were born in the states, I was able to relate to their views as well. For example, my sister has been inclined towards western culture. From the mesosystem, I was raised in a predominantly diverse neighborhood (since I was born in Brooklyn, NY) where I met a variety of people (Paquette & Ryan, n.d.). Since I wasn’t as exposed to the Indo-Pak community, I made connections with people who had different cultural values. Lastly, from the exo-macrosystem, I experienced many of the political and social/economic shifts which gave me a realistic perspective of life, which led to my interest in impressionistic paintings (Paquette & Ryan, n.d.). Thus, Bronfenbrenner’s systems theory is more applicable to my adolescent/young adulthood years as I was finally discovering myself.
Paquette, D., & Ryan, J. (n.d.). Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Reema%20Basha/Downloads/bronfenbrenners_ecological%20(2).pdf