the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others
In April, BTS dropped the first album in their Map of the Soul series titled Map of the Soul: Persona. In ‘Intro : Persona‘, RM asked himself, “Who the hell am I?”.
I have asked myself that question several times (maybe you have too) and like RM, I may never fully answer that question. However, I am working on it and taking my time to discover myself (flaws and all).
BTS’ Map of the Soul series is inspired by Carl Jung’s model of the psyche (see Jung’s Map of the Soul by Murray Stein). Jung split the human psyche into archetypes: persona, ego, shadow, anima-animus and self. According to him, the persona is the ‘conformity’ archetype. It is the mask we wear in the presence of others but it is a false representation of who we really are. We use the persona to adjust to our surroundings, presenting the best of ourselves to the outside world. The danger here is believing that we are the mask that we wear.
I painted ‘Persona’ at the end of April (a birthday gift to myself), inspired by RM’s intro, as a representation of what Carl Jung accused me of.
The photos above are the references I stitched together to decide on a layout for ‘persona’ and ‘shadow’. I used the horizontal mirrored layout because it more appropriately represents how the persona and shadow are opposites of one another. My persona embodies only my positive qualities and is out in the open for all those who encounter me to see. Whereas, my shadow hides away my negative ones deep down in my subconscious.
This is the concept sketch I made before applying paint to my canvas. ‘Persona’ is multi-coloured while ‘shadow’ is in shades of grey. My persona mask is collection of traits that I have picked up from my experiences and people that I have met over the years, hence, the mosaic of colours. The colours are bright because they are the ‘good’ things that people see at first glance. My shadow, on the other hand, is upside-down and buried in the dark, ignored. She is monochrome and is a representation of the ugly parts of me.
That ‘who am I?’ question is the foundation of this public art diary that is Onye?CA. The ‘Persona’ painting is an example of how I am creating and using art to explore my thoughts and the way I see the world in hopes to one day find my true self. I hope that through this, you too may begin to uncover your shadow and find your true self some day.