One of my goals this year was to try new things and get myself out there. So, when I saw the Our Naked Truths art class being promoted on Twitter, I knew it was the stars working in my favour. What’s more, it was completely free!
Our Naked Truths is a safe space, created by Jocelyn Yeboah-Newton, for all those who identify as women to create, connect and celebrate the universal feminine beauty through art and conversation. Each session will feature an exceptional female model posing naked, demonstrating their own unique expression of beauty, in a sequence of dynamic short and long poses. Our Naked Truths also provides drawing materials, but you are equally free to bring your own.
The session I attended, at the Proud Archivist gallery in East London, had exactly the same setup. It had a really relaxed feel, with wooden tables and beanbags where we could work on our pieces with the life model in front of us. I roped two friends to come with me so I wouldn’t feel so alone, but it was comfortable all the same. Everyone was really welcoming and sweet, definitely instilling a sense of sisterhood even though some of us were complete strangers. Might I add, there was the most beautiful music playing in background that totally instilled a sense of calm and harmony!
There’s me in the corner on the British beanbag!
So, I got stuck right in trying my best to draw, but I was so rusty. I can’t remember the last time I had drawn anything and I couldn’t quite get the model’s arm right. Nonetheless, it was really fun and the sessions are is suitable for all abilities, you don’t even need any previous experience to attend. There was some really cool and unique artwork and I couldn’t help but take a picture:
Each session is also based on a theme and in this session it was self acceptance. At the end of the class we had the chance to discuss what this theme meant to us. Some of the ladies talked about their struggle with body hair and how having – or lack of it – made them feel. But, ultimately it always boiled down to learning to accept yourself as you are, flaws and all. I was able to instantly relate to this as I’ve struggled with self acceptance for many years. When I started puberty, this triggered the onset of a debilitating skin condition, Hidradenitis Supparativa, that affects the most intimate parts of my body. Not many people knew about it, including doctors, which caused me to have depression and low self esteem for many years. Yet, I’ve come to accept this as ultimately being a part of who I am and learning to care for my body properly (check out my article on this at gal-dem Zine) We also discussed how beauty standards constantly change, making it impossible for women to keep up, but how destructive to self esteem these standards can be.
We all agreed there was a great need for a stronger sisterhood, where we create more spaces for women to be able to relate to each other in this generation and the next.
Overall, it was a completely inspiring evening. I loved the good vibes and the homely feel. I’ve never been to an event like this before and I’m so glad I attended! I highly recommend this art therapy to anyone looking for something new and exciting to do and wanting to work on their self confidence at the same time.
Our Naked Truths also has an upcoming event on Saturday the 28th of January, based on the same theme of self-acceptance. Tickets are available via Eventbrite for £12.
Find them on Twitter: @ournakedtruths_
Be you, all-ways