Humans of McMaster: Ayesha Basu
The Silhouette: Please introduce yourself.
Ayesha Basu: My name's Ayesha. I'm in my second year of [Chemical Integrated Biomedical Engineering & Health Sciences].
You posted an art piece with part of the caption saying, “You will post your bad days.” What inspired you to create and post the art piece?
I posted that roughly five months ago. It's a black and white sketch. In the caption, I detail that I'm irritated because of the lack of transparency on social media, that it's only used for your good days. I wanted mine to be very open and very transparent.
It was a pretty bad point in my life. When you're a kid and you go to therapy, they don't ask you out right how you're feeling. They don't ask you to really speak—they ask you to draw out anything. The thought is that when you draw things out, it's letting your conscious flesh out on paper. So, I drew out how I was feeling. That piece has a lot of scribbles, a lot of scratches on it because after I would draw and add what I felt was in my head, I would feel ashamed, or angry or saddened. And that's how that messiness of it came about. So, I just wanted to post that this is a bad day and that's okay. It's important to recognize that you have bad days and they should be honoured just as much as the good points in your life. The teaching is harder, it feels worse, but you come away with something still.
What inspired you to post it?
I'm an honest and blunt person. I feel very icky not saying the truth about how I feel. I post when I'm bored or when I haven't posted for a while. At that point, I really wasn't at the capacity to post something happy or just average-normal. But I did want to put something out there. I also put that as a milestone. A lot of my posts are milestones. If I come back to this later, I'll always know I was able to get better from that low point. I already did it before, so it's just a matter of doing it again.
How did you feel coming out of that?
I was going through a decent amount of trouble with the people I knew and the people I trusted. So, social media is hard. One month, I archived all of my posts. I was so unsure of the people I did not trust seeing that part; why do they get to see that vulnerability? But, there are people out there who are completely new and they have the potential to be very very important people to me. But, I'm gatekeeping my personality, not because I want to, but because I have a fear of the people that I used to know. I don't want my past to shape the future people I know. So, I put everything back up. These are the things that happened to me in my life. From then on, I've been pretty transparent and I'm decently proud about what I want to announce in my life. So, if I make the decision to put something out there, I'm standing by it.
Where is the intersection between creating art for the purpose of creating art and creating art to express your story?
Once a teacher told me that you have to know the rules before you break them. For me, I don't know what I'm breaking but something is being broken all the time with the stuff that I draw. It's not skillfully artful but it is still art because art conveys a meaning. For me, the vulnerability of my art just enhances the craft itself. Refining and refining and refining, figuring out what you want to say and keeping it brief to stay within the character limit, what you want to draw with that and how that complements what you're trying to say. The common denominator is that it has meaning in some way. It's a translation of something. In my process, I'm just learning what it is.