WEEK 4 Bringing it Altogether
to Create the Final
Self-Portrait
Realizations generated by the workshop Realizations generated
by the workshop
Back To Start of Week 4 In Week Four, the artists integrated and applied all that they had learnt, experimenting with different creative and meditative techniques, to create a final self-portrait. As with all of the previous weeks, they participated in rounds of sharing, meditation, creative practice and story-telling, all of which led to significant realizations for many of the women. As Katherine said: “I've learnt that I actually stop myself, and I don’t consider myself a negative person, but I hear myself say, “I can't do that or I'm not able to do that.” I'm actually saying that without even trying or thinking about it, so that's something I'm really mindful of and really grateful to have been made aware of.” Katherine, I am Still Me
Who Am I? Who Am I? Back To Start of Week 4 In preparation for Week Four, the artists were asked to write a poetic response to the question, “Who Am I?” This helped them focus inwardly and explore multiple aspects of themselves. Initially Diane found it hard to do the poetic writing: “I was kind of, I didn’t really go too deep into things. And then, I sat down one night and I really like looked into myself, and just wrote “Who am I?” in more of a story way. It was like a little bit deeper, going into who I am. I realised, asking: “Who am I?” that I’m not sure. Take away HIV, boards, committees and work; I’m not sure who or what is left?” Diane did answer this question and her answer can be found in the poem that introduces her in the Artists section. Diane, Who Am I Reflection, creation, realization and application Reflection, creation, realization
and application
Back To Start of Week 4 While the artists moved through the final week of the workshop in different ways, they each experienced to the Meditative Process Art method’s cycles of reflection, creation, realization and application. In Week Four, Agatha went back to a photograph of her dancing shadow that she had taken earlier in the workshop. Describing this photograph she said: “This is my first introduction to me. I chose to photograph myself using a shadow. It is an outline of me because the first time we meet someone new, we only know an outline of a person. It takes time to know someone in depth.”

Agatha took her shadow self through a number of the Meditative Process Art method’s cycles. It was as a power symbol in Week Two, she added words to it in Week Three and it appeared in her final self-portrait in Week Four. Speaking about her work from Week Three Agatha said: “I like it a lot because you can see from the shadow that really shows who I am, I think. I think that it's an introduction to me that I'm more than just HIV and it’s like, ‘Ah, get to know me.’ You know that's only a part of my identity. It’s not the whole of me and there are lots of other awesome things about me as well.”
Agatha, Who Am I
Final self-portrait Final self-portrait Back To Start of Week 4 In her final self-portrait in Week Four, Agatha took her dancing shadow a step further using it as the starting point for a painting. She also dressed herself in a cape and roller skates: “Ok so I did a realistic portrait of myself. I've done it kind of reminiscent of the other shadow one, like the same kind of shape but this time I’m a superhero and I've got roller skates on and my cape. And in the middle, I've got something more symbolic because of the other activity with like the passion and the fire and they sort of talk about the fire in your belly, and that’s kind of what I was trying to have there.” Agatha, Super Hero Personal meaning Personal meaning In Week Four, the artists continued to work with symbols, often integrating our original power symbols with others that held personal meaning. Symbol-making is an important feature of the Mediative Process Art method as it offers a way to speak visually and formulate emerging insight. Lisa talks about the significance of the symbols in her self-portrait: “Ivy is the name of my Nana and Ivy is very special in my heart. In my painting that I'm doing it’s a fairy, she's got her arms up, she's climbing and I want her climbing the Ivy. I believe that we all have wings; we just have to find them. And life is a challenge and ivy is hard to climb.” Back To Start of Week 4 Lisa, Climbing Ivy New beginnings New beginnings Back To Start of Week 4 Speaking about looking back to her diagnosis and working with imagery from the past Elizabeth describes a major realization that resulted from her art and symbol making: “I’d never revisited my diagnosis with HIV, and it’s been about thirteen years. It was really helpful, it was really good. Then I went home Friday from work and I was a blubbering mess. And I got onto my psychologist and she’s lovely and she rang me Sunday. She asked me to think of myself as a diamond, all the facets of a diamond. She asked, “how many faces of that diamond have got HIV?” And my answer was “all of them!” Troubled by this, Elizabeth began drawing the diamond: “I’ve got my symbols there of my chook, my waves, and the flower. And I wrote up the top, ‘Diamonds have many facets and so do I. Each facet face is a special part of me.’ I have many, and by the way, there’s fifty-eight on a normal gem. ‘Great qualities and each shine brighter at different times. Which one do you see today?’ And my fifty-eight facets are full, no room for HIV. I wrote, ‘let go, no more domination, you will not rule my life, it is now time for me! Piss off!'” Elizabeth, Diamond 1 Elizabeth, Diamond 2 Back to Main Timeline