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'Project U!'... By Dr. Migdalia Brathwaite

Your life is a series of creative events! Everything about you is artistry at its finest hardwired with the impulse to create! There isn’t one moment in your life when you aren’t creating something. The artistry of living requires us to show up and do something intentional with the colors, shapes, mediums and tools that life offers. Every art project begins with a design and a wish that shows the artist’s ideas world view, and desire for meaning making.

As creators of living art, meaning is found around every turn of artistic adventures. When you observe a piece of art you can learn about the artist’s mood, time period in which the art was created, the intimate exchange of color, the intensity of stokes, texture and tool selection, all without a single word. However, even in the messaging of an artistic piece most life artists do not anticipate unexpected deviations from the original design. Deviations come in all shapes and sizes, they are often unexpected, invisible and unwelcomed. They can alter the idea of an original design into something that might resemble street art, but street art is also beautiful.

It’s been over two decades since an invisible artist showed up in my life determined to use my skin as its canvas. It turned me into living breathing street art, this artist is called Vitiligo. I am never far from its masterpieces etched into my hands, wrists, chest and face. Vitiligo’s technique is unconventional, instead of adding color this artist creates art by removing color from a canvas that is already filled with color. It removes the color that I love, and the color that is the greatest part of my ethnicity, leaving behind its version of graffiti on my skin. My living art gallery always has observers and the brave ones question the uniqueness of my personal art projects, my ‘Project U’, and like any gracious art curator, I welcome their questions with gratitude.

This graffiti artist challenged me into making decisions about how I should deal with this new version of me which I now view as an art hijack. Of course, there were trips to the dermatologist that revealed that not much could be done, so I decided to launch a personal love campaign. I embraced this tiny art gallery scrawled across my skin. Each abduction of pigment has become a historical artist rendering, texture, shape and color to the most impactful stories of my life. There was a small patch that made a cameo appearance at my temple during a rigorous graduate school program, another patch was unveiled as I negotiated the pain of divorce, and a of series of patches that presented on each finger like the ivory keys of a piano, that commemorated the death of my mother. Although I never intended to become a living canvas, the interplay of shadow and light on my flesh canvas reminds me that I am vibrant and alive.

Developing a ‘Project U’ is hard work that requires innovation and shifts in our thinking. The first steps into creating your artistic project will require rethinking the idea of your original life design, much like Vitiligo challenged me to do. The betrayal of my own skin was one of the many catalysts that enabled me to learn the value of forgiveness in my artful living. Embracing my life stressors sketched on the canvas of my skin revealed the value of forgiveness in all of my life art projects. I forgave my body and loved it in all of its new stylings.

Many unexpected painful life circumstances may require a forgiveness project. A ‘Project U’ that requires the tool of forgiveness can be filled with apprehension as you balance the intricacies of light and shadows. The art of forgiveness, takes the gray’s, blacks, deep purples and neutral colors of our lives into a space where they can shift and catch the light to reveal a work of art that has a transformative message for both the artist and anyone who is exposed to this living art project.

So, what are you creating? How intentional are you being with the materials in your life studio? How freeing are the art projects that you are creating? As you ponder these questions, I’d like to invite you to join with others who will be exploring their transformative life art in The Art of Forgiveness. You’re creating anyway so what do you have to lose? ‘Project U’ needs you, let’s get it started!

For more details on The Art of Forgiveness Workshop (begins on October 4th-October 25th): Please CLICK HERE

For more details on The G-Spot: Fri-Yay Happy Hour Zoom LIVE w/Dr. Brathwaite this Friday: Please CLICK HERE

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