"The pandemic has been a very difficult time for all of us, we have been through moments of sadness, uncertainty, anger and hopelessness. Some of us are far away from our homes, and the pandemic made it hard to create a sense of belonging.
I connected with some friends virtually and our conversations made me think about how each of us was experiencing something different during the lockdown and we also were trying to look after ourselves and stay positive.
I decided that I wanted to document the experiences of women of colour because there was a common ground, being migrant or having migrant parents and also, speaking a language different from English and living in a multicultural city like Melbourne.
My creative process consisted on interviewing these women asking them to share their experiences, to share how they take care of themselves during the lockdowns, also if they wanted to share a tip for self-care, and a recipe for something they enjoyed eating or drinking during that time. Additionally, I asked for a photo which in some cases I took and in other cases they send it to me.
After having this information I started to create the illustrations based on the photos of each woman and lastly designed the book including the artwork and the information they shared."
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"I have created a book full of colour, experiences and feelings of women during the lockdown. Having the opportunity to create this work has reinforced the importance of telling stories, connecting with people and learning from the experiences of others."
Presented as part of MAV’s Ahead of the Curve program.
Supported by The Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
Karena Bravo is a multidisciplinary artist from Colombia. Her work is feminine and self-explorative. She uses mixed media techniques to represent Black Women and Women of Colour, their bodies' shape, hair, and style, highlighting their connection with nature and spirituality and representing their beauty, strength, and vulnerability. Her work aims to be a tool for empowerment, building self-acceptance and confidence. Part of her creative process and outcome have been shaped by the constant necessity to reconnect with her roots. Being far away from home had encouraged Karena to explore different art forms and create a sense of belonging through dance and movement, inspiring her through her visual work and helping her preserve her culture and identity.