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The Masks We Wear - Shamayam Sullivan

Self-Portrait by Shamayam Sullivan CFA'23

Although I’ve been creating art since I was young, as a child I strayed from creating self-portraits. I was used to Eurocentric facial features and never challenged myself to learn my facial structure. The self-portrait was a foundational assignment in most of my art classes growing up, though outside of class I never pursued them.

The first time I truly started to create self-portraits for myself was in high school. I had made a distorted self-portrait during an art intensive and was captivated by the final drawing. The experience opened my eyes to how gratifying it felt to create an image of myself.

Since then, I’ve been captivated by my appearance and the art of self-portraits. Creating self-portraits help me to further understand how I view myself and the environment I reside in. Similar to a photograph, I use them to document every aspect of my personality. I recreate every beauty mark and imperfection, all the emotions going through my head, and the different physical environments that take a toll on my body.

I now view self-portraits as a blessing. I’m so thankful to be able to portray myself as I see fit, without any influence from anyone but myself. I am the sculptor of my physical form, and I alone dictate how I’m perceived by the outside world. Without this form of artistic freedom, I wouldn’t be the artist I am today.

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