Over the past few years, I have learned that existence in my body is fluid. Sometimes I am rooted, sure, and confident. Sometimes, I am floating in the mesosphere. Dissociation takes me to a place that looks a lot like here — but not quite. This duality is reflected in this series and follows me as I move from one state to another.

I work a lot with mixed media and textures. As I move pen on paper, I remember the smell of the hot pavement, the bug I flicked off my wrist. I remember the act of plucking a flower from its stem, the sound of the branch snapping in my fingers, cleaning the petals, arranging them between pages, preserving them under the weight of thick books. All the grand and unimpressive circumstances culminate in the final frame. In creating, I put down markers to remind myself that I am whole. I am whole and I am here.

Niya Patel