UO junior Lidija Sovulj started out portray as before long as she could hold a crayon. Generating artwork made her feel “like I could express myself and see the globe in a unique way, no matter whether it was lighter and funnier or darker and much more emotive,” she said.
Art has normally been a way for Sovulj to system her emotions and struggle via her id. She remembers working with a yellow marker to shade in a person simply because there ended up not precise colors to depict pores and skin tones.
“Art is constantly a way for me to method,” Sovulj explained. “My loved ones is Vietnamese and Croatian, and so identity has constantly been a big battle for me. My artwork has generally been a put where I can do the job on that and get the job done on myself in a actually free and open up atmosphere.”
The first time Sovulj remembers going through racism, she was 5 a long time aged. Sovulj introduced a bento box to school for lunch, filled with fried rice that was seasoned with fish sauce. Other pupils produced exciting of her for the reason that of what she was having and how it smelled, Sovulj claimed.
When Sovulj started high school, her family members moved to Astoria, Oregon. About 90% of Astoria’s populace is White, according to 2019 U.S. Census information. Sovulj seasoned a whole lot of racism and colorism whilst living in Astoria and below in Eugene.
“I have hardly ever felt actually secure or secure within just my identity as somebody who is biracial,” Sovulj stated. “[Art] has usually helped me comprehend myself more.”
Social justice themes are distinct in Sovulj’s do the job. It can be tricky to uncover constructive representation of both Asian and mixed folks in the mainstream media, Sovulj reported. Her goal is to assist persons feel witnessed, liked and listened to in her get the job done.
“Especially in Eugene, there is a lot of White creatives. And it’s exhausting,” Sovulj reported. “Art is a truly good way to connect what is going on in the globe, and the injustices in the world.”
Sovulj typically depicts persons in her artwork. She utilizes acrylics and oils, portray portraits using shiny colors. 1 of her items is a portray of a woman, the base half of her encounter significant in comparison to the prime. Her lips are big and pink, her hair is blue and her skin is a combination of eco-friendly, blue and yellow. She has eyelashes, but as an alternative of eyes, just empty white sockets. On her head sits a line drawing of a determine keeping a bong with the text “Alone with my thoughts” floating driving its head.
“I genuinely like portray folks and seeking to process their feelings,” Sovulj claimed. “There are so a lot of incredible, stunning stories you can tell with faces and emotions.”
In the spring of 2020, Sovulj commenced her personal t-shirt business known as Lidija’s Adore Shack.
“I started earning shirts with the strategy of purely to make men and women joyful and give them anything that resembles a hug on their back at all occasions,” Sovulj wrote in an Instagram article.
At the moment, she presents 1 shirt style in a variety of colours. The image is four faces, all with unique expressions and head styles. Sovulj also advertises that she is open up for commissions.
“I would really like to even more make garments. And actually not even for the money factor,” Sovulj claimed. “I realize that funds is royally just fucked up.”
Sovulj makes use of art to converse about the injustices within just our modern society. It has aided her to understand the value in her very own culture as very well.
“There’s a ton of shit that goes on in our cultures that is reflected in artwork that is extremely exclusionary, pretty violent,” Sovulj explained. “So to turn artwork into a loving act of resistance, rather frankly, is truly essential.”
She utilizes artwork as a “loving act of resistance” by portray photographs of men and women that are normally left out of the mainstream media. She also gives her artwork away, physically placing electricity, time and like into the approach. 1 of her most loved issues is to ask people what their preferred shade is and then generate a piece of art centered all-around that distinct shade.
In Sovulj’s working experience, artwork is a required kind of resistance and healing mainly because of the racism and injustices she has confronted in her daily life. For her, the racism at UO is substantially additional covert as opposed to her encounters in Astoria, displaying up by microaggressions and appropriation.
Sovulj is the two a organic anthropology and a sociology major. A whole lot of her lessons perpetuate the racism and fetishization of Asian and combined men and women, Sovulj claimed. She went on to say that she has averted using Asian American literature lessons due to the fact they are largely taught by White women.
“And that is just going to be a person hell of a time discovering about my culture and my men and women from one more White individual,” Sovulj mentioned. “And that regrettably has also been what it has been so considerably.”
Portray is a software Sovulj takes advantage of to help her procedure her thoughts and thoughts. It is a way for her to convey her anger, but also a secure place to support her heal, Sovulj mentioned. Her intention is to sooner or later paint murals and proceed to make apparel and commissions for other folks.
“When I paint people today, I want to search at lifetime by way of their eyes,” Sovulj explained. “I want to be able to see myself clearer.”
Campus Creatives is a weekly column by A&C reporter Nika Bartoo-Smith that highlights one of a kind and proficient users of the UO local community. If you know somebody who should really be highlighted — no matter whether they begun their have small business, operate a podcast or just love to dance — email Nika at [email protected] or or Tweet her @BartooNika.