March 9, 2021

Lyla, The Free Child

Lyla is a self taught artist. Her practice revolves primarily around understanding sexuality and gender behaviours and how cultural context, especially patriarchy and trauma shape the patterns and taboos associated with these. This is her mental health story.

Instagram: @lyla_freechild

I am a self taught artist. My practice revolves primarily around understanding sexuality and gender behaviours and how cultural context, especially patriarchy and trauma shape the patterns and taboos associated with these.I have been on a whirlwind romance with the age old craft of “Jaipur Blue Pottery” since 2014, exploring its finer nuances and creating intimate works, largely related to my experience as a woman. Displacing the meanings of traditional floral motifs common to the craft, I weave these forms into images of female sexual organs adorned with flowers, grass blades of hair growing on its native garden of body. Continuing this “dying” art through painting narrative themes on common shapes as plates and bowls has been cathartic and transformative for me while bending its purpose and identity by taking it beyond industrial production to articulation of individual artistic voice.In this deeply personal- political journey of exploration/expression through visual arts, the performative body and engaging with community, painting with my menstrual fluid and capturing the beauty of nudity have also become integral to my practice.After years of struggle to find ‘one true calling’, I realised I am a multipotentialite. This perceptual shift magically unraveled to me the interconnectedness of things and that art is inseparable from everyday life. I am now working towards integrating the various forms I was practicing in the past without a coherent thread into a consciously curated creative path and healing journey that fulfils my needs for collaboration, community, sustenance, inclusion and beauty.