Not …

Laila Tifah // Acrylic paint, pencil, charcoal on canvas // 85 cm x 130 cm // 2021

Humans can be described as icebergs. The tip of the iceberg, only a small visible part, will be compared to our body language, our behaviour, and our actions and decisions. Most of the iceberg is invisible. That part determines how we act, behave, and make decisions. That part is responsible for the results we get.

I live in Indonesia, a country with a variety of races, religions, and belief systems. I was confronted with this diversity already at a young age and I was brought up to respect the existing differences. My education in this matter came from my parents, mostly in the form of advice, and from national, moral and religious subjects in school. But over time, I felt that these values of Indonesian society were beginning to erode, slowly but surely. The phenomenon of increasing loss of respect for diversity can be observed worldwide.

Since in our open world, we can access information from anywhere we want, it is inevitable that the influence of another understanding or another ideology can consequently affect our subconscious, too. For this reason, I keep writing the word “not” in my present work, allowing it to become a mantra and influence my subconscious. The word “not” becomes something positive, depending on the sentence that follows. For example, to not feel self-righteous, to not prevent other people from worshiping, to not be intolerant, to not suppress, to not be arrogant. At this point, I can certainly include a long list of sentences including “not”, which might lead to behaviour that is more positive. These sentences including “not” have the potential to positively influence our attitude in everyday life and how we see differences and diversity.