I have been accepted for an artist residency in Brazil for November 2017. Please help me experience this amazing opportunity which will nourish my career and help me launch since my parents can longer afford for me to complete my Fine Art Degree. I am a deeply passionate artist who focusses my work on community upliftment, activism and identity healing and try to give back the love I am blessed with in this life in every way possible.
The residency: https://www.casanailha.org/the-residency-program/
To see my artist bio and work intent: https://www.casanailha.org/upcoming-artists/
Motivation for funding:
The Gold at the End of the Rainbow
The modern day structure of the South African landscape was shaped by the political regime which ran over the 20th century called Apartheid. Colonisers whom arrived from abroad, saw South African soils as fertile grounds upon which to land and build a thriving colony. This process was done in a very violent and self-righteous manner, local land dwellers were controlled and removed by thorough means of identity destruction and abuse, and violent means such as trickery, intimidation and very often was the use of guns, murder, rape and force.
The local people were first traded with, then tricked into valourising the alien European cultures and handing over land rights in legal documents – which they had never used before. Where there was resistance, Europeans used their violent tools of power – the gun. They believed it was their God-sent right to come and take over this land – an illusion created out of an unbalanced manifestation of power. The gun was not invented out of love - but fear, fear for loss of control and a deep set greed to have more material power. Therefor, the deeply set collective social ideas of the coloniser are rooted in fear – which we know breeds violence, oppression, abuse and suffering. All acts can be analysed as being born out of fear or love.
Eventually, much of Southern Africa was colonised, and Europeans began to construct the city structures. Rhodes has been quoted as intentionally adapting and using local forms of the Maya (illusion) of racial hierarchy in his plan to acquire a greater reach of land control – the dream being from Cape to Cairo. In this plan, they intentionally create and raise ideas which subjugate the local black people of the land. The only way to control a person is to take her away from her self-love – because love is freedom, and when a person is not feeling love, or adapts polluted ideas of love – they are controllable.
So on and on, the locals of the land were oppressed and their identities abused, their labour exploited and their cultures obliterated. They were pushed into tiny townships and squatter camps, far off from local CBD’s so as not to be a visual nag. The implementation of Apartheid was thorough and lengthly, occurring over generations. That means that some people’s entire experience of life was within this collective mental structure. The system of Apartheid became a physical manifestation of spatial arrangement on the land according to skin colour, but we too often forget in South Africa that this is primarily due to a psychological construct. The structures of Apartheid are mental ones at the core – mental structures and beliefs which are projected into how we behave in a space, construct our space and expect others to participate in our space.
Now we reach a point where all South African’s are supposedly ‘free’ because we are all allowed to vote, but the physical and psychological structures of Apartheid are still deeply embedded in the minds of South African people, who still use space in ways which reflect this mental attitude and expect others to conform.
Firstly, the cities were constructed in such a way that the wealthiest class was located closest to the CBD’s and everyone else was pushed far out of sight. This still holds today, we see the poorest of the poor, the most oppressed and psychologically abused people living far out in poorly constructed township and squatter camp communities. They spend most of their money on travel over long, timely distances into the city to work their low paying jobs. They cannot escape this cycle of poverty because they don’t have the funds for entreprenearal business start ups or to pay for higher education, and spend all of their money on basic survival needs and transport. They also cannot escape this cycle because it is deeply rooted and embedded in their psychological culture, a mental system of self-hatred and acceptance of abuse, disempowerment and subjugation. They activate this and the oppressor activates this.
We see the same reflected in pockets of wealth. The wealthy classes of South Africa are able to operate in an illusion of space that maintains and withholds its wealth and pleasures. They have access to cars and thus beautiful spaces where the poor public transport systems do not go. Their wealth also allows them access to a luxurious kind of lifestyle such as resturaunts, retreats and holiday resorts. They spend little time on travel that is not for pleasure, as they are closely located to the CBD’s and have much money to spend on the pleasures of life. Due to the far out located squatter camps and townships, they don’t often have to think about poverty and people’s social suffering, as they don’t often see it, and when they do – it doesn’t bring up nice emotions so they are easily able to move into better spaces where they don’t have to be exposed to it. Maya.
So there are many illusions hovering about in the psyche’s of South African’s, many separate ones. The poor continue to activate their illusions of how they fit into space based on their destructive self-esteems which they continue to activate through violent mannerisms and ways of talking to another. And when they escape this mental form of slavery, it is incredibly 10 fold harder for them to attain the wealth they need to live a better lifestyle and escape the harsh township environment. It is harder because they are so conditioned into self-disbelief, and because they have to overwork and drastically compromise their health and wellbeing to get enough funds to change their lifestyle. Self abuse is a deeply rooted cultural phenomena.
We talk to others the way we talk to ourselves. Blame is violence.
My mother grew up a poor black South African woman, and I grew up with a constant stream of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse on my character and way of being. My triumphs, strengths and talents were ignored, and she constantly found ways to criticise my behaviour and ideas. I was often told how I would amount to nothing, how I was lazy, how I was a slut, how I had the wrong priorities, how I was never going to be able to live with anyone or have any successful relationships or functions in society. These were her projections about how she activated her own ideas of herself into spaces. Having grown up in the most oppressed body in the country, she felt severely the difficulties of access to nice and wealthy spaces, how the oppressors projected their ideas of inferiority onto her, that she was stupid, lazy and a whole stream of identity abuses and self-hatred. My mother fought this system, using this violence and abuse as the fuel for her fire, as the energy which she wished to overcome.
She spoke down to herself as a way of self-awareness and self-improvement through constant and violent self-destruction. Naturally, life always follows death, these are the natural cycles of existence. We have a natural instinct to survive that kicks in often before we make the conscious decision. So she would constantly destroy herself, and wait for the natural revival of her soul to kick in and carry her through, renewed and improved and better suited to continue her mission. In a social system where she was forced into a lower standard of education, where she was constantly faced with ideas of her inferiority, where she had to work so much harder and save so much more just to make the same money as someone from wealth and love, she managed to save up to get a university degree so she could access the corporate world. She managed to get a job in a space where very few bodies like hers were present, and she had to succeed in the face of violent internal and external criticism, activated by herself and the others in her space. So for her, this is what she knows to be the way to success, the way to economic liberation – and this is why she pushed it on me - it was her way of showing love, a violently polluted and obscured and inherited idea of love, a conditioned idea of love.
I could not stand to be around her for this abuse, as my father spoke encouragingly and believingly to me, and the very wealthy schools I was fortunate to attend were filled with people who activated space and ideas in the ways that he did. My father also fell into self-disbelief and I watched him falling into poverty and struggle, yet he still did whatever he could to ensure I had a beautiful and protected experience of life – often sacrificing too much of himself to provide for me and my brother, a very motherly kind of love. I had access to beautiful spaces, was surrounded with people who nurtured and loved themselves, but saw themselves as superior and were ultimately self-righteous, believing in a God-given right to their pleasures. This is a psychological inheritance, we adopt the culture of our forefathers, through cultural activities and projections of how we activate space and expect others around us to activate space. I battled a lot of racial stereotyping and inferioration in school, even once being called a bully ringleader like I was the head of some bully gang, my teacher obviously thought I was from the Cape Flats. Easy scapegoat.
So I grew up constantly hearing how the poor of South Africa were lazy, were irresponsibly breeding when they didn’t have the means to support their offspring because they were stupid and didn’t know how to work and behaved so awkwardly and uncomfortably in space. Space which for them, carried the ancestral trauma of arrest, of being stolen by violent means and space which now they had to use in very specific ways which reflected an emotional abuse on their black identities.
‘We don’t like to look at poverty and ugly black people, so put the taxi rank around the back of the city there by the rubbish dump, and make it illegal for them to park and wait anywhere else. ‘ – the oppressor in apartheid city planning.
‘Everyone is looking at me in this suburb as I walk through the streets like maybe I might run into their backyards and steal their television, like I had better get on my way to the taxi rank, cos they can see my old ugly clothes and ugly black skin and it makes them upset so I had better remove myself from their vision.’ – the oppressed, poor and displaced on general daily life experiences.
So how do we resolve this issue? The oppressed, first of all, needs to start nourishing healthy identities so that we may develop new psychological ideas of how we fit into space and then activate them. Self love, a reconstruction of the identity bound to the body we inhabit.
Growing up surrounded by Caucasians and their ideas of beauty and how this activated in space, I adopted the same ones, and opened up an abusive battlefield onto my own body. I hated my frizzy, curly hair, and feared the darkening of my complexion, which would read as a marker for people to project limited and unbelonging projections of how I behave in space onto me. Once, my friend joked with her friend in my presence, about how funny and annoying it is when little niggers jump out the bushes into the road in front of her car to cross the road, and how funny and stupid they looked. They laughed. This had made my stomach churn.
In this sentence, we can analyse a number of inherited psychological structures of how we activate space and expect others to. Firstly, the nigger jumping out of the bush, is an inherited idea of how black people – the inferior and stupid, belong far out in the bushes and are misplaced within the civilised city structures and roads. Secondly, the fact that the nigger is jumping in front of her car, shows her expectation of the nigger to behave in a way which shows a disregard for his safety and wellbeing due to a lack of intelligence. So she assumes this is how he treats himself. Thirdly, the fact that the nigger is walking and she is in her car, shows the different ways in which the rich and poor are using space, the nigger has to walk around and constantly make way for the rich and foreign structures of roads and cars who have right of way on this land. She can experience him from the distance and safety of her car, the vessel of her privelage to and from beautiful spaces in her Maya – or illusion of space. He may be late, has to catch the 6pm taxi which is 4 km’s from the house in which he is employed as a low payed garden boy, and has to run there to be on time. He jumps into the road, sure he can make it across in time because inheritantly he knows that cars and privelage have right of way on this land and he activates that belief by adhering to it.
Let me tell you that in India, ain’t no such thing! Cows and people have right of way on any road (Maybe not the larger metropoles), and the cars and privelage just have to make their way around it – and they do so peacefully because they are aware of their privelage to be in a car in that regard, and everyone in India is just more invested in peace and not aggression.
He is performing her projection, allowing her to continue her belief of having right of way because if he walks slowly across, she will violently put him back in line by hooting or yelling a stream of violent abuses out her window – the corrective, controlling and authoritative behaviour which she inherited from her forefathers who roamed the land with guns forcing niggers out the way to their god-sent missons to own the space and make the rules in it. The niggers allowed it because they chose to act out of fear of that gun instead of love for their own freedom and rights to space – and in the face of a gun, I may have done the same. In the face of needing to cross the road, I may probably have also sacrificed my personal need of catching the 6pm taxi to get home and make dinner for my kids who walked home from school, just so I wouldn’t have to deal with the stream of violent abuse that would come my way if I walked. I would sacrifice myself to choose peace, isn’t that a motherly love?
Lastly, the fact that my friend could say this abusive and offensive statement in my presence, aware that I have a body of colour, that I have black in me, shows how she expected me to adhere and conform to her ideas of what is and isn’t normal behaviour in a space, and allow the forceful, violent, verbal abuse of my identity on my body in her presence. I, let it slide, because I would rather have peace in that moment than face the harsh aggression and argument that would come if I spoke up and told her how offensive it was, the aggressive demon of denial would come out and bite me back into line. But by allowing it, I allowed abuse on my own body and identity. I am responsible for that in my own direct space and experience.
This could also be seen enacted in my violent relationship with my mother. During her alcoholic days, she would get drunk almost every night and sit, letting off a stream of abuses onto my silent body. The nights I felt fire in my belly stood up for myself and replied that she should stop talking to me in that way – she would get aggressive and raise her voice, putting me back into place as the submissive child. If I did not submit, it got physical. This same pattern occurred with my dad and his girlfriend, and I became a nomad from the age of 13 after attempting to commit suicide, living in one home for 2 to 3 months until a violent fight broke out when I demanded the end of violent emotional abuse to my character, then getting kicked out and having to go stay with my mom or a friend, until I became a nag there and had to leave again.
This pattern of abuse can also be analysed to be a number of various kinds of psychological activations of space anywhere you go. Firstly, alcoholism is a huge issue in South Africa, where we have some of the highest rates of alcoholism and alcohol related violence in the world. Back in the day, slaves were payed in alcohol on the wine farms in Cape Town. In fact, all over Africa we see the payment of alcohol for exploitative labour being carried out by the coloniser. Alcohol is one of the most damaging drugs to the body - the consumption of which can only occur as a result of an abusive attitude towards self. We are unhappy in our daily lives and hate ourselves, never feeling good enough in our own skin and always wishing to have the pleasures we see on someone else, always not acknowledging our own strengths, talents and gifts and wishing to possess external ones of some external idol because we don’t believe in ourselves. Maybe because our parents didn’t believe in us and conditioned us into that behaviour, or maybe because our society flaunts packaged ideals to which we are all expected to work towards to perform within the system of capitalism. Work hard, dress corporate, rock a straight style bob hair cut and get your very own A Class Mercedes Benz. Then you’ll fit into your suburbian community and get the external admiration you never gave yourself.
These expectations were placed onto me, and wanting to be the free artist, I rejected them, causing my mother much stress. How was I going to be well off if I didn’t conform, become an accountant, corporate queen – because that is what worked for her! And she loves me and wants to see me thrive, so she will continue to exert the aggressive force that worked on her. But I do not perceive these conditioned ideas of love as love, because I know they are not, because when I activated these behaviours I opened the door to a stream of violences upon my body which caused me suffering, and I trusted the Buddha when he said suffering is not love, I could feel from somewhere deep inside me that this was truth.
What violent acts of self-destruction did I engage in though? To fit into my community of wealth? Firstly, my hair was not ‘beautiful’ so I burnt it over and over with hot irons and chemicals. I stayed out of the sun so I would blend into the white crowd better to feel a rightful energy about how my body fitted into spaces. I did these things and they brought me joy and community with the wealthy peers that surrounded me, and I needed that sense of community and love because at home my mother rejected and abused me for not conforming to her culturally inherited patterns of self abuse. I conducted different kinds of self abuses, ones on physical appearance in order to fit in.
But did I fit in? No, I was not actually white nor wealthy, nor black and in dire poverty, and so the cost of maintaining this false appearance became higher and higher. I compensated by working more and more jobs on the side from high school, waitressing at Hooters from the age of 16 in order to feel both beautiful and be rewarded externally for it in money, then I could use that money to continue my patterns of physical self destruction to keep receiving external acceptance and conditioned approval of my appearance. Because deep down inside, I despised my natural appearance, I had no self love because I didn’t fit into anyone’s ideas of beauty, gifted or talented. I depended on external love for that validation. I despised my appearance because in my society, black was ugly, black was misplaced and black needed to be out of beautiful vision. If I rocked my black appearance, I would be operating within a set of social space projections where I would be expected to stay to the side, where I would be reminded of my inferiority, sloth and stupidity - all these social inheritances from the violent acts and cultures of our forefathers.
As humans, it is our natural desire to fit into a community, we need the support, acceptance and love of a community in order to feel good, to feel belonging. We also crave beauty, because beauty enhances our pleasure and lives. We see beauty in the spaces around us and we feel beautiful on the inside, because the external is a reflection of the internal. How we operate in the external is a reflection of our internal structures, from the micro to the macro – from the individual to the collective.
If we are emotionally and psychologically abusive towards our own true beings, never acknowledging our own natural gifts , strengths and talents – we will do this to our physical bodies by means of destructive addictions like alcoholism; applying toxic chemicals to our skin and hair and aggressively defending and forcing those habits onto those around us. My mother believes she is stupid, because her whole life her community and experience of space and place told her she was such – that was the violent social conditioning of apartheid - of what happens when you force youself into someone else’s space and disrespect them, telling them they are shit and it is your God-given right to own and control this beautiful land and forcing them to behave in a way which they have to believe it. Her ancestors were raped in colonial slave brothels as a result of this God-given right to enter and dictate control. So much mental trauma in her genes from generation to generation and even though she is still racking up degrees to this day, I can see deep down she believes she is stupid and inadequate and that is her motivation. Fear.
You as the oppressor, are acting out of fear and not love, because you feel the need to conquer an external beauty and will enforce suffering to attain it, so you march into a foreign land and subjugate the locals to have possession over this beautiful land. Because, deep down, you share the same fear. You crave external beauty because you do not have self-love, you do not believe in your natural beauty. So you regiment a structure or culture to which you and your community strictly adhere – wearing tight corsets that crush your ribs and suffocate your lungs to look beautiful. Pumping chemicals into your lips and paying thousands for technological rapes like laser therapy and liposuction. You bleach your hair and rip out the hairs in your sensitive spots to adhere to an external idea of beauty because when surrounded by beauty you feel beautiful and you feel what you believe to be love. You seek to attain your community’s conditioned idea of beauty for you seek to experience love. You are committing violence onto your own body, and so externally, this violence is committed upon those who do not fit into your idea of beauty, which you think gives you the right to aggressively put them back into line – via use of your gun, raised voice or assertive instruction. You think they are not beautiful, so you force them out of your sight and site and construct a Maya, or illusion to live within. Such as Camp’s Bay.
You (now the oppressed or my mother) are acting out of fear and not love, because you fear death, fear the gun and would rather allow the abuse as a natural survival instinct, which causes abuse to the rightfulness of your own intellectual power to disseminate what is wrong and right. You conformed, and you told your children to conform. So from a place of fear, fear that she was inadequate and stupid, because society also confirmed this for her on the external, my mother worked and worked and worked ten times harder than those around her, with her lower education and violent self-destruction, to be on their level, to have community with wealth, her white corporate ‘peers’ so she could receive external, conditioned admiration and love. And for her, this was freedom, this was empowerment - to have money and power and feel the freedom that she watched her oppressor owning while growing up and was told she and her people could never have. She was looking for love, and we are all looking for love, and love is the very core structure of the entire universe. And so even when she was acting out of fear, she was working towards attaining love.
External or internal, love is love. Seeking it by external action, or seeking it by internal analysis, it is still love we are all seeking. Seeking it by pushing external change or internal psychological change, it is still love you are chasing. It is still love from which your actions are born, maintained and die in. It is still out of love that you construct your illusions, that you maintain you illusions, and still out of love that you destroy and rebuild them. It is still out of love that you fight, that you oppress and that you inflict suffering, and still out of love that you heal, nurture and accept - allowing others to just be, with understanding and surrender to their psychological projections and physical actions.
One way is external and associated with masculine energy, patriarchy and force – fatherly love. Ego is fear, ego and force of structure, and the ego never surrenders. The other is associated with feminine energy, the internal and soft way, the peaceful and accepting way which requires constant surrender – this is motherly love. We are all born from a mother and die back into the earth or Mother Nature. Pacha Mamma. Gaia. Surrender is a spiritual attitude, a union between masculine and feminine energy and the highest way of living.
Patriarchy is all a part of existence – as is suffering, pain and violence. So we needn’t chastice ourselves or men for the violences we have committed against ourselves and others. But if we want to we can. We should try act more out of the ways of soft love if we want more to live in peace and acceptance – turning more to internal reflections, criticism and external acceptance. But external work is also essentially love, so we have hurt and burned ourselves and others, but we needn’t continue when we realise that it was all love in the end.
The left half of our body is where our heart is more situated, the side associated with femininity, and as far as the internal reflects the external, this must mean that the behaviours of love are more situated within the ways of the feminine, the ways of nature and surrender and acceptance. That is why the divine feminine energy is one of independence, of community, of sharing, sacrifice and healing, of leadership and also accepts support and surrender to her way. However she is also the destroyer when she needs to be, externally violent and destructive to initiate change for healing and regrowth. The greatest civilisations on Earth were Matriarchal, such as ancient Egypt and India and other parts of Asia.
This must mean that matriarchy is the natural order of earth-dwelling, the more peaceful and loving path for the larger collective. Because we are all born from a mother and die to a mother. But we cannot say that any other way is wrong, because all action, all the varieties of Maya, all lead to love and are essentially born from love.
And now the mind begins to fail, words and logic begins to fail and all begins to collapse in on itself. Contradictions in every circumstance and thought pattern arise. There is no right way and wrong way, there is no duality. There is only love. And everything is made of it. Heart centered living is the eternal way. And so what is life then? Why do we have suffering and illusion? What is the point of all of this? Life is but a dance, a game, a play. A movement of energy in an infinite explosion of forms, all just motions of love. This is why the artist is a teacher, because they constantly play and create and break rules to share a variety of kinds of beauty, enhancing our experience of life. When we remember this, we can dance and love and feel light. When we forget its a game, it’s okay, its all part of the natural cycle of movement - but it will bring you more peace to be compassionate and loving in your suffering, allowing others to remember the dance, the play - the Leela.
I am Lila Nomfundo Giselle Le Roux.
In my Maya, I am creating art and holding spiritual ceremony in spaces where I can bring people back to this truth. Connecting people across all imagined divisions and separations of race, age, gender, nationality and class.
Due to my heightened ability to see truth, I have become hyper sensitive to busy spaces, to authority and crowds which trigger violent panic attacks, mental collapses and depression in me. This makes working in certain environments very difficult for me. I have come to a point in my heart based living that I trust and know where I need to be and when to share my love and be received. It is something beyond mind, something that I cannot explain in words and logic, something moving through me – my destiny. I have come from severe suffering in this life and now I choose to live in love and share that love, so I ask for any possible support in my journey to attaining my dream of collaborating world peace though my art and travels. The more I travel the more I am able to see and understand the various ways of people of this earth, so I can teach and share this great union. This is my work. My work is love. <3
If everyone on my FB donated 1 dollar or R13 rand, I would have enough to go =) please share!
written by Lila Nomfundo Giselle Le Roux. I reserve the rights to my work and writing.