Our Artist in Residence, damali abrams, asks whether constantly capturing and reveling in one’s own image is the work of a self loving individual or narcissistic. I enjoy her videos and see self love plus a face and voice generally absent from mass media. Go damali… What do you see? -aa
damali on narcissism
The first time I ever took self-portraits was the night of my college graduation. I wore a red wig and colorful costumes. This was before I considered myself a performance artist or an artist at all, really. It was my way of commemorating a monumental moment in my life.
That was over a decade ago. Since then a lot of my work has included self-portraiture in the form of photos, videos, performances, written journals, and video diaries. And from time to time someone will either ask me about or accuse me of narcissism.
Admittedly, I feel a twinge of self-consciousness when this word is thrown in my direction. Maybe I am a narcissist. But I don’t know if a psychological evaluation of my personality disorders has anything to do with the value of the art. Many artists have mental disorders of all kinds but should that be included in the critique of our work?
And as many feminist critics point out, the accusation of narcissism that is often made against women artists who use our own bodies or images in our work is not made against men who do similar work.
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