From The Rigid Gender Roles That Society Has Imposed Upon Us.
Our Gender System Has Created Oppression And The Female War Has A Mission To Overthrow This System By Any Possible Means.
We Believe That We Must Wage A War Against Patriarchy And The Gender System Which Confines Us To These Rigid Social Roles.
The Domination Of Women Is The Oldest And Worst Kind Of Oppression In The World. This Is Because It Spans Across The World Oppressing Women Of Different Races, Ethnicity, Classes And Culture.
“As Anarchism Is A Political Philosophy That Opposes All Relationships Of Power, It Is Inherently Feminist”
(L. Susan Brown)
If you are interested in this painting for your collection, for an exhibition or would like to buy a print, please use the form below:
Losing My Identity is a depiction of the identity disturbance which people such as myself endure due to having Borderline Personality Disorder.
So imagine living your life with no sense of self, not knowing yourself from your past, present and future, how would this affect your day to day life?
Having a sense of self is something which as a species sets us apart from other animals and is a complicated subject within philosophy and psychology. Your identity is generally made up of your beliefs, attitudes, behaviour, personality, knowledge and what social roles you see yourself in.
Identity is formed in early childhood and then continues to progress and adapt until early adulthood, and by your mid-twenties a secure sense of self is common in most.
We learn primarily from our parents who we are, such as are we “good” or “bad”. This also inturn makes us aware of others and how we relate to them. With borderline personality disorder, however, the distinction between “good” and “bad” seems to remain as the only two variables in which to see themselves and others. This causes splitting which is the extreme shifting of black and white thinking, from idealisation and devaluation of the self and others.
Here are my accompanying poems which describe each identity which I have felt I am, at different times, never really knowing who is who, or if who I am is real.
She looks in control and some call her inspirational,
cold and frank, aggressive in her nature,
She doesnt need you,
from love to hate she swings,
people have tried, she simply withdrew.
She is a survivor you see,
no need to gasp or stare,
her only goal is to be set free.
Some try and disarm her, given half the chance,
but some know her well,
even at first glance.
She will protect you till the end,
resilient and fierce,
in this girl you can depend.
The Fragile One
She has no skin and could break at the slightest touch,
you rarely see her,
for being in public is simply too much.
Hiding behind her older sister The Survivor,
never allowing the vulnerability to be seen,
in her life she is not the designated driver.
For she is so vulnerable and sick,
infirm and weak,
if you want to offer her help, best be quick.
The Benevolent One
She believes in a higher purpose,
knowing we are here for a short time,
negativity is worthless.
Giving of herself always, never saying no,
wanting to save you and never let go.
A mother earth without a brood of her own,
offering wise words,
treating you as a precious stone.
She wants to save the world, and is certain she can,
waking up everyday with a mission,
wanting to prevent the fall of man.
She never grew up, she couldn’t you see,
trapped in time, searching for love,
she will give her love away for free.
Crying and screaming is how she speaks,
listen carefully and you may understand,
the tears say more, running down her cheeks.
She loves you, she hates you,
extremes are all she knows,
giving you a lot to live up to.
Building fantasies in her mind,
dreaming of a family who could never exist,
always filled with worry and fear of being left behind.
Cats have been of extreme importance to me throughout my life of 31 years. Having reared kittens, rescued cats and met many along my journey, these majestic and complicated feline friends are to me more than beautiful creature but are inspiring and have become my best friends and even family.
I decided to start painting cats when I realised how important they were to my artistic process. My three cat progenies who my husband and I treat as our offspring (not as human babies) but as the wonderful species that they are, are called Omar (our 10 year old moggy), Isabella (our 8 year old Burmese) and our youngest Logan (a 5 year old Bengal).
They rush to greet us as we arrive home, they speak to us in a language which we have adapted to best understand one another, they are attached to us as we are them and require constant attention and care, which we are more than happy to give. We feel privileged to share our lives with our fury brood and at times when I am unable to leave my home or am so overwhelmed by sadness or trauma my phenomenal little ones comfort me and lick my tears away.
So I shall continue to honour the species I feel akin to by painting them and creating lasting impressions of them.
Here is my latest called “Lucy Loves Laziness”
Lucy was my Mothers cat when I was little, she was a wise cat, full of neurosis, who did not particularly like me, but I shall always remember her curled up in the flower beds, whilst keeping a watch out for small insects to eat.
Here is a look at the other cat portraits in my collection, most have been sold, prints available and greeting cards coming soon.
If you are interested in one of these or have a feline friend you wish me to do a portrait of please fill in the form below for further details.
Original paintings cost £55.00
Prints cost £25.00
Commissioned Cat Portraits cost £45.00
All images are 10″ x 12″ x 1″ and are on box canvas or high quality printing paper.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex and severe mental illness which I have and still struggle with on a daily basis. BPD is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder and there are two types: borderline type and impulsive type, I have the borderline type. Which is a cluster-B personality disorder, this means a person with this disorder displays behavioural and emotional problems with instability, problems forming interpersonal relationships, issues with identity and self-image. Personality disorders are extensive and defined through inflexible patterns of maladaptive inner experiences and pathological behaviour.
Having been diagnosed at 18 after displaying signs as young as 15 I did not understand or even know what this “disorder” was? It was only in my late twenties when I was unable to rely on drugs, alcohol and reckless behaviour to mask my inner turmoil and just blame my lifestyle for my behaviour. As well as self denial there was no information or treatment offered to me so I just swept it under the carpet with my PTSD and Dissociative Disorder. However all this sweeping just made my mental health worse and I started developing more mental illnesses due to my avoidance. I now haveagoraphobia, Generalised Anxiety disorder and OCD and all of these developed due to me acquiring unhealthy ways of coping with my pain and instability.
I have been using art as a therapy since I was hospitalised in a psychiatric unit at 15. Although I stopped during my avoidance phase, I still have used some form of creative therapy: writing poetry and journalling when I was unable to afford painting materials. I could always find a piece of paper and a pen, allowing me some freedom of mind.
Now I use my art in all its forms to express my journey and how BPD affects me, allowing more dialogue and engagement regarding this misunderstood illness as well as inspiring others to talk about their own experiences and hopefully encourage people to use a creative outlet when managing their illness or aiding in recovery.
So it is a new year and with this comes the assumption of an internal reset button which one can press and start again. As far as notions go this is not a bad one if approached correctly with a positive attitude and an openness to whatever lays ahead.
I do not make resolutions as this kind of fait accompli put upon oneself is a recipe for disaster and failure. It does not allow for the mystery of the upcoming 12 months and what life has planned. So instead I set goals which do not have to be finished by 2016 but have to be started in 2015. I move forward with dreams and ambitions and make sure I do at least one thing I have never accomplished before. You may think I am just rewriting the new year resolution mantra and that it is not much different, however the difference is I do not “expect” things from myself, instead I imagine my future and am lead by my dreams and encouraged by my fears.
Last year was great. I became a published illustrator with The Wishing Machine which I am very proud of. Also I had 2 exhibitions one in Portsmouth and one in London, after 2013 I decided I would take a step back from exhibitions and concentrate on new collections. Myself and Sadie Kaye decided to take over the old ART SAVES LIVES and renamed it ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL. This meant I was Artistic Director and Co-Founder with Sadie.
I also joined forces with the talented Lisa Reeve and we are working together on a new book, a new online boutique selling handmade and recycled items as well as art from ourselves and selected artisans.
In late 2014 ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL was handed over to me and I became Managing Director along with my husband Mohammed Farhan and Lisa Reeve. Sadie Kaye remains Artistic Director but has taken a small step back whilst she concentrates on many other personal projects as well as her beautiful expanding family. We have decided to reinvent ASLI, with a new mission and plan. With ASLI set to become a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in early 2015 and already with a calendar booked up with exciting events, we are excited with our new venture.
Since receiving reliving trauma therapy for PTSD my mind has swollen and over-spilled with flashbacks and night-terrors. This intensive therapy has hurt like a thousand knives piercing my brain and heart, but with all intensive therapies it gets worse before there is any relief. I have yet to feel any deliverance.
The word ‘rape’ used to be an utterance I was unable to speak or think, the mere mention or thought of the word, would send me into a detached state, a complete shutdown and the escapist inside found a way of entering a safe place which was more like a dream world.
It took me 10 years to confront the word, not the act, just that word ‘RAPE’.
I had now accepted the word and what it meant for my continued existence, however I still can not truly accepted what has happened to me.
I still go over and over the incident, although the voice of society bullies my mind and the disbelievers ring in my ears. Telling me “but you fancied him? How could you not have wanted it?” and “But you are crazy, why would we believe you?”
Everything you could think of was used against me; my clothes, my mental health, home life and how well I knew my rapist were all used to justify what happened to me and I felt blamed, confused and as if I was deserving of it all.
Even after internal and external surgery caused by the rape, it was still said “she is so crazy she probably did the injuries to herself”.
The doctors, surgeons, police and mental health team all believed me and repeatedly told me it was not my fault and that the damage was clearly from forced intercourse and the bruises and marks were conclusive of restraint marks, but they were unable to undo centuries of victim blaming and misconceptions about rape, the world around me was singing from a different hymn sheet and I could not hear their support over the louder voice, saying “you were asking for it”.
The person who I needed to believe me was not my friends, family or even society, it was in fact me!
I only managed to do this, this year and strangely enough it was exactly 15 years since that day. Through reliving the rape in my therapy I was able to separate myself and all the other voices and see the truth. Although it was a relief to finally say to my 15 year old self “I believe you”, it felt as if it had just happened and felt more real than ever.
I am still struggling and receiving treatment. But as a survivor I decided to speak my truth, to be part of the change and help others like myself.
As an artist I have decided to raise awareness and help end the silence.
Here is one of my first pieces from this collection, which is accompanied by a poem.
Chained – By Charlotte Farhan
I was chained by my fear, after you held me down.
I was chained by your force, when my life was turned upside down.
I was chained by peers and the social pressure to conform, with not wanting to be different or to cause a storm.
I was chained by my clothing, which was used against me, as well as my self loathing.
I was chained by the trauma, which haunts me to this day and the wish for life to serve you your karma will never go away.
I was chained by you, by them, by me.
Chained by the idea that “I was asking for it”
I am still chained and wish to be free.
Thank you for reading.
Please share this post, be part of the change yourself.
At this present time I am working on an exhibition of art, sculptures and a book to accompany this project, to share my story, my suffering and my survival as well as highlighting rape culture in our society on a global scale.
Please help me in my campaign and like my Facebook page:
Having any unseen illness is a struggle and for obvious reasons. Some say mental illness is not a physical illness which I strongly disagree with, how can the brain not be physical? Having had severe psychiatric illnesses since the age of 11 would make some assume I would be well adjusted by now or even that I must know my own illness through and through. These are all incorrect assumptions.
The fact is my life has become more of a struggle with age. Being 30 now has made me want to take charge more than ever but to my surprise it is proving far harder than I would have imagined as my younger self. As a young teenager I did not understand and just felt out of place and suicidal. Then as an older adolescent I just became reckless and would put myself in dangerous situations. My twenties became a decade of denial, I did not want medication, therapy, hospitalisation or even to really admit my illnesses to my friends. I drowned my emotions and masked symptoms and behaviours with alcohol and drugs.
However, mental illness does not just disappear in fact it spreads like an infection and causes more illness until the infection is so severe the body crashes and there is no other option but to admit defeat and seek medical attention. This is what happened to me at 28 and has been a uphill struggle since. Although this has made my life more difficult it has not stopped me having a successful marriage and a progressing career.
A detailed list of the unseen illnesses I suffer from
Here is a list of my unseen mental illnesses the definition and severity. The list is done from the most severe to the least. As well as identifying which illness (untreated) led to another.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder – develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, warfare, serious injury, or threats of imminent death. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms, such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyper-arousal, continue for more than a month after the occurrence of a traumatic event
Borderline Personality Disorder – is a cluster-B personality disorder, is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. Impulsive behaviours, self-injury, experiencing severe mood swings, feelings of emptiness, and intense anger.
Depersonalisation Disorder – is a mental disorder in which the sufferer is affected by persistent or recurrent feelings of depersonalization and derealization. It is classified as a dissociative disorderand an independent neurotic disorder. Feeling disconnected from one’s physicality or body, feeling detached from one’s own thoughts or emotions, feeling as if one is disconnected from reality, and a sense of feeling as if one is dreaming or in a dreamlike state.
Agoraphobia – Anxiety about being places or situations from which escape might be difficult or in which help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack. Situations are avoided or endured with marked distress, many require a carer or companion.
General Anxiety Disorder – is a neurological anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry
Panic Disorder – is an anxiety disordercharacterized by recurring panic attacks. It may also include significant behavioural changes lasting at least a month and of ongoing worry about the implications or concern about having other attacks
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions), repetitive behaviours aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions), or a combination of such obsessions and compulsions.
Diabetes – Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.This is because the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter the body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones. This may lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, fatigue and chronic pain.
Anorexia Nervosa (Restricting type) – individual does not utilize binge eating nor displays purging behaviour as their main strategy for weight loss. Instead, the individual uses restricting food intake, fasting, diet pills, and/or exercise as a means for losing weight.
Chronic Erythema nodosum – is a type of skin inflammation that is located in a part of the fatty layer of skin. EN results in reddish, painful, tender lumps most commonly located in the front of the legs below the knees. With chronic pain and tightening of the skin.
Depressive Psychosis – refers to a major depressive episode that is accompanied by psychotic symptoms.
With these unseen illnesses it is hard to explain on any given day why I can’t do what I need to do, or why some days I am able to do these said things. As someone who as had these issues longer than not, I am unaware sometimes that people take me at face value and as I appear “well” or “normal” to a certain extent people can often disbelieve if told or just can’t understand as I am not in a straight jacket, rocking in a corner, dribbling or fit into any other misconception or stereotype people have about mental illness.
So this can prove to be very distressing in our world. As a survivor and someone who will not give up, I am left with only one option and that is to share my story, educate and break down these rigid ideas of what mental illness is. Mental illness does not mean you cannot have a life, friends, family and a career. However it does mean you may need to alter your opinions on what social norms you wish to follow or like myself hope to create a diversity in our society that will accommodate us all better. Such as attitudes towards work, money, health care, relationships and appropriate behaviour. These are all areas which may need to be reinvented and philosophised to draw the best conclusion for your life.
You will still be met with certain attitudes and archaic beliefs.
TOP 10 WORST THINGS SAID TO A PERSON WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
“Don’t tell people you have mental health problems, they will not understand.”
” You always seem so happy, confident, well… I can’t believe you have a mental illness.”
” Everyone feels like this sometimes.”
” Why can’t you work in proper job?”
” Stop focusing on the past, negative, bad times…”
” Get over it!”
” You would be fine if you just went out.”
” Your illness is a state of mind.”
” Stop mentioning your illness it brings people down and makes you seem like an attention seeker.”
” I don’t believe in mental illness.”
Living with my unseen illnesses everyday is just a fact of life. I don’t feel bitter or unlucky. All I wish for is that the world would see us and accept us. We are here on this planet and we deserve a voice and consideration. My wish is to stop negative associations with unseen illness, to break down the separation between mental and physical illness, to allow people the freedom to speak of their illnesses in social and work settings without the fear of stigma and unfair treatment.
My unseen world is not unseen because of shame or fear. It is unseen because many choose not to see it. It is unseen because people don’t listen and it is unseen because I gave up explaining. However now I am not giving up, I shall explain and speak up and I shall not hide the truth. This will not change things over night but it will be my change, my contribution. I am a warrioress and my fight has just begun.
All photography taken by Lisa Reeve (New website being launched in 2014)
The collections exhibition by Charlotte Farhan which is on show throughout January and February, has had a very successful first month of December).
With a fabulous launch night, many tweets, Facebook messages and images of you all visiting the exhibition and giving overwhelming feedback and praise.
As well as being visited by fellow artists and photographer Philip Woolway http://www.philipwoolway.com/ who was a featured artist in Charlotte Farhan’s Artists of the Week.
With in the first week a sale was made and other exhibition offers started coming in for 2014.
Each painting was selected from continuing collections by Charlotte Farhan. To mark a successful year of 3 solo exhibitions and to highlight the themes and subjects within Charlotte’s work. So that 2014 may be started with a fresh outlook and room for many exciting projects and new art works, focusing on more in depth expressionism as well as exploring new styles and techniques.
A week ago today I was half way through my first solo two day exhibition at NSH Arts in London, Mile End. I was feeling very excited and felt very blessed that the evening before had gone so well and how wonderfully I had been received. My exhibition was organised by Art Saves Lives an organisation which I am a resident artist for in London. The exhibition was my largest yet with 26 paintings.
The Venue – NSH Arts – London
“A classic Georgian House the east end of London, 439 Mile End Road has been refurbished to offer a versatile set of spaces intended for exhibition of 2D and 3D installations, music, theatre and study. The scale is defined by the domestic setting – but the possibilities are dramatic – including opera and indoor/outdoor exhibitions.”
Nick Hugh the director was so helpful and operates his venue and organisation with a relaxed professionalism which is calming for the artist and audience.
“Art Saves Lives is a not-for-profit arts organisation dedicated to providing inspirational and inclusive arts experiences to engage marginalised and underprivileged young artists in the UK. We offer our artists a plethora of multi-media visual arts, performing arts and film opportunities to unleash their artistic potential and transform their lives.”
Mr Dean Stalham – Company Director, organised my exhibition and promoted it. Dean was amazing and I am very grateful for his help and dedication.
Exhibition Poster – created by Art Saves Lives
Here is my exhibition for all those who could not attend and for those who are just finding out about my art. I hope you will feel as if you were there.
Breaking Through During Waking – An Exhibition by Charlotte Farhan
My vision for this exhibition was a collection of my best work which represented my journey so far. From childhood memories, life stories and events, with political and religious comments and parts of my inner self which begged to be exposed and exploded from my mind on to canvas. My work is always reflective and is meant to provoke discussion and to reflect positive energy from colour.
Rainbow Street (Amman) & Amman at Dusk – By Charlotte Farhan
Amman at Dusk – By Charlotte Farhan
Amman, is a city which reminds me of how strong I am and reminds me of the adventure and diversity which exists on our planet. I have faced many fears to visit this amazing city in Jordan where my husband is from. It is a spiritual home where I found an inner peace on my second visit in 2011.
Amman, Rainbow Street – By Charlotte Farhan
“Rainbow Street” is in the historic area of Jabal Amman, Jordan. This is the home of the artistic community located at the heart of Amman’s oldest neighbourhood. An inspirational and energetic vibe is felt here.
PTSD – By Charlotte Farhan
This is a reflective piece. It is painted in a naïve style. This represents the image my inner child would paint to explain the emotions attached to this condition. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe condition that may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events.
During my exhibition the fabulously talented pianist Fabio Tedde played his music. Fabio’s music set the scene for a relaxed evening. Pleasure for the ears and the eyes was our collaboration.
Here are some videos of Fabio Tedde for you to listen to
The Wonderful singer/songwriter Lánre also sang three amazing songs and the one she picked especially for my exhibition, was this song called “inspiration”
Lánre – Inspiration
Lánre is a beautiful women with true soul which runs deep and pleases the ears with a delightful ease and passion. A rising star who has a long and bright future ahead, watch this space because Lánre is coming!!
We also had inspiring guest speakers and were supported by Community Options with Ian bland, speaking about the organisation and who runs a creativity project for Art Saves Lives called Credo.
The Service User Network (S.U.N) is a group peer support service which helps people cope with personality disorder and emotional/behavioural difficulties.
It aims to help service users feel more supported, less excluded and more empowered. This is achieved through learning new coping strategies, which can help people have fewer crises, and be able to access other services more simply when needed.
S.U.N works alongside mainstream services
Inspiring and informative talks – Thank you
Exhibition Photos – By Mohammed Farhan & Edited By Charlotte Farhan
I hope you have enjoyed my exhibition
Thank you for visiting – your support is gratefully received
If you are interested in my work please visit my website