Curated in partnership with Richmond Public Art
Self-portrait with mended flesh by two-spirit artist Manuel Axel Strain is a diptych depicting the artist’s connection to their Grandmother. The work is born out of the artist’s internalized struggle to accept their own identity. Wrapped in their grandmother’s scarf, the artist’s arms metaphorically carry a spiritual connection and kinship to their ancestors. With such gestures of guidance and care by the older generation, the artist reflects on the traumatic times of their life, expressed in terms of vulnerability and resilience in reference to current and historical forms of colonial violence.
“It is my personal belief that the insecurities I felt in relation to who I am are a direct impact of the forced assimilationist catholic values put onto First Nations people. The work addresses death, mourning, healing, revitalization, personal narratives, mental health, and colonization.”
–Manuel Axel Strain