UO junior Lidija Sovulj started off painting as before long as she could maintain a crayon. Making art created her sense “like I could specific myself and see the planet in a various way, no matter whether it was lighter and funnier or darker and extra emotive,” she reported.
Artwork has usually been a way for Sovulj to approach her feelings and battle by way of her identification. She remembers using a yellow marker to colour in a human being since there were not correct shades to depict skin tones.
“Art is generally a way for me to approach,” Sovulj stated. “My family is Vietnamese and Croatian, and so identity has constantly been a substantial struggle for me. My artwork has always been a position the place I can do the job on that and perform on myself in a definitely absolutely free and open natural environment.”
The very first time Sovulj remembers enduring racism, she was 5 decades previous. Sovulj brought a bento box to college for lunch, stuffed with fried rice that was seasoned with fish sauce. Other students produced fun of her because of what she was having and how it smelled, Sovulj stated.
When Sovulj started off substantial school, her spouse and children moved to Astoria, Oregon. About 90% of Astoria’s populace is White, according to 2019 U.S. Census data. Sovulj professional a good deal of racism and colorism when residing in Astoria and listed here in Eugene.
“I have never felt actually stable or safe in just my identification as a person who is biracial,” Sovulj stated. “[Art] has generally aided me realize myself more.”
Social justice themes are distinct in Sovulj’s operate. It can be tricky to come across favourable illustration of both Asian and blended individuals in the mainstream media, Sovulj stated. Her goal is to enable persons truly feel seen, loved and heard in her get the job done.
“Especially in Eugene, there’s a ton of White creatives. And it’s exhausting,” Sovulj reported. “Art is a truly great way to communicate what’s heading on in the globe, and the injustices in the environment.”
Sovulj generally depicts persons in her artwork. She utilizes acrylics and oils, painting portraits utilizing dazzling colors. One of her pieces is a portray of a lady, the bottom half of her face significant in comparison to the leading. Her lips are large and pink, her hair is blue and her skin is a mixture of green, blue and yellow. She has eyelashes, but as a substitute of eyes, just vacant white sockets. On her head sits a line drawing of a determine holding a bong with the words and phrases “Alone with my thoughts” floating at the rear of its head.
“I seriously enjoy portray folks and hoping to approach their emotions,” Sovulj explained. “There are so a lot of remarkable, gorgeous stories you can inform with faces and thoughts.”
In the spring of 2020, Sovulj began her very own t-shirt firm termed Lidija’s Enjoy Shack.
“I started out producing shirts with the idea of purely to make persons happy and give them some thing that resembles a hug on their again at all situations,” Sovulj wrote in an Instagram put up.
Currently, she provides one particular shirt style in a wide range of hues. The image is 4 faces, all with different expressions and head shapes. Sovulj also advertises that she is open up for commissions.
“I would appreciate to further make clothes. And honestly not even for the cash factor,” Sovulj explained. “I know that income is royally just fucked up.”
Sovulj uses art to converse about the injustices within just our society. It has aided her to acknowledge the benefit in her possess tradition as nicely.
“There’s a ton of shit that goes on in our cultures that is mirrored in artwork that is very exclusionary, very violent,” Sovulj reported. “So to turn artwork into a loving act of resistance, fairly frankly, is actually essential.”
She employs artwork as a “loving act of resistance” by painting photographs of persons that are normally still left out of the mainstream media. She also provides her artwork away, physically placing strength, time and like into the procedure. 1 of her most loved things is to check with people today what their most loved coloration is and then build a piece of artwork centered all over that particular colour.
In Sovulj’s encounter, artwork is a vital type of resistance and healing since of the racism and injustices she has confronted in her lifetime. For her, the racism at UO is much additional covert when compared to her encounters in Astoria, exhibiting up by way of microaggressions and appropriation.
Sovulj is each a biological anthropology and a sociology big. A large amount of her courses perpetuate the racism and fetishization of Asian and mixed persons, Sovulj stated. She went on to say that she has avoided having Asian American literature courses since they are mainly taught by White girls.
“And which is just going to be one hell of a time studying about my tradition and my men and women from a different White human being,” Sovulj reported. “And that regrettably has also been what it has been so considerably.”
Painting is a tool Sovulj works by using to help her approach her views and feelings. It is a way for her to specific her anger, but also a safe and sound area to assistance her mend, Sovulj explained. Her objective is to at some point paint murals and go on to generate garments and commissions for other folks.
“When I paint people, I want to glance at lifetime by their eyes,” Sovulj mentioned. “I want to be in a position to see myself clearer.”
Campus Creatives is a weekly column by A&C reporter Nika Bartoo-Smith that highlights unique and proficient customers of the UO local community. If you know somebody who should really be featured — no matter if they started their have company, run a podcast or just love to dance — e mail Nika at [email protected] or or Tweet her @BartooNika.