Artist takes vow of silence and wears a blindfold to improve her mental health
Most of us wouldn’t last a day doing a vow of silence, but one artist has made it a pillar of her work.
Lauren Baker, an artist currently showcasing her latest work, didn’t make a single sound for 10 days while travelling in Mexico for the benefit of her mental health.
The experience inspired her lastest collection, ’10 days of silence’ which is running in London this week.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk about her decision to undergo silence, she says it was about helping her find calm.
Lauren says: ‘Many of us are afraid of silence – I was no exception before my journey.
‘We’re always doing something – thinking, texting, music, TV – to occupy the space.
‘Being quiet and having space is crucial to our happiness, and yet we often neglect this.’
Feeling the urge to ‘go on a big adventure’, she felt drawn to the idea of taking a vow of silence and challenging that need to always be doing something.
‘I was in silence for ten days in Mazunte, Mexico,’ she says, ‘and during this time I meditated from 7am until 10pm, with just three food breaks a day.
‘We weren’t allowed to look at anyone on the retreat I selected, so I chose to blindfold myself to not get distracted and stay within my journey of self-enquiry.
‘In silence, I wrote letters to myself, to my past lover and to my future lovers, to Earth.
‘The words poured out of me and they inspired my “Letter To…” series in the exhibition where the hand sewn threads flow off the canvas heaped on the floor.
‘As I meditated, it felt like time changed speed and was slowing down.’
The ‘profound’ experience wasn’t easy though – at first she felt the weight of her personal issues that now had her full attention, given the inability to distract herself with conversation.
She continues: ‘The first three days were really tough as I started the journey, due to the fact I’d recently been through a breakup.
‘However, the fourth day was divine. By day eight I detached and I felt like my vision expanded from tunnel to 360 degree vision.
‘By day ten I felt like I knew myself on a deeper level than ever before, gaining insight and a tremendous loving awareness for myself and others.’
When she could talk again, she felt a renewed excitement around communicating with others.
Now she meditates – something she couldn’t do before – feels ‘humbled’ and is calmer approaching her day-to-day.
Lauren’s 24 new works have been created out of that feeling.
She adds: ‘It was so empowering to commit to this silence.
‘In this new awareness, I understood that the essence of who I am is not my mind or my body, or my voice – it’s my spirit and my soul.’
’10 days of silence’ is running until May 29 at 99 Projects.
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