Shadows Of The Mind: Unraveling An Artist's Thoughts

Naomi Mendoza’s detailed pieces from her show, Shadows of the Mind, tackle the relevance of mental health.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s July 2023 Issue.

Naomi Mendoza is a visual artist based in Manila. She received training at the College of Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Communication) degree at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. The young artist discovered her passion for sculpture and mixed media at her time in the university and has exhibited her works in several joint exhibitions and at several occasions at Art Fair Philippines.

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Divine Surrender, Polymer clay and cotton yarn, 11 x 5.5 inches
“Divine Surrender”
Polymer clay and cotton yarn, 11 x 5.5 inches

In 2020, she had her first solo show at J Studio and three years later, her much awaited second solo show called Shadows of the Mind at The Metro Gallery is finally here. Her exhibit tackles a timely and slightly sensitive topic: mental health.

Mendoza considers herself an extremely introverted person. The idea of being locked up in a room for long periods of time doesn’t really bother her. In fact, she enjoys it. She can always think of something she could do or learn when alone. But she never imagined that something like a pandemic would make her hate the things she loved the most and find hell in her only place of comfort. She says “Isolation, anxiety, grief, loneliness, helplessness, it was the perfect recipe for a messed up mind.” 

In The Grip Of Farewell, Polymer clay and cotton yarn, 11 x 5.5 inches
“In The Grip Of Farewell”
Polymer clay and cotton yarn, 11 x 5.5 inches

Healing through art

Mendoza, like many, felt like she was going crazy. She adds, “It was normal to hear this often during this time. What was not normal was actually seeking help. The amount of stigma surrounding mental health had me question why we neglect one of the most important organs in our body, and one that could not even be replaced. Perhaps it was the cost for medication? Maybe we’re too afraid to find out what’s inside our heads, thinking another person is going to dissect and analyze our thoughts? What is normal and what is not? These are the questions that lingered in my mind that I struggled with too.”

She did not see a doctor and resorted to what she always does–making art. But this time it was crocheting that she found comfort in. She could only express what she was going through in order to feel some form of release. This is the reason why she chose this topic, shedding some light and breaking the stigma by visually communicating shared experiences. In March 2023, she finally got to see a psychologist and was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. She openly and bravely admits that she is going through therapy now.

Quiet Used To Be Comfort, Polymer clay and cotton yarn, 10 x 7 inches
“Quiet Used To Be Comfort”
Polymer clay and cotton yarn, 10 x 7 inches

On ‘Shadows of the Mind’

Her pieces for this show are strong. Like other artists, she drew from experiences and emotions, usually from things that she had trouble processing. Human anatomy always fascinated her. It is also the one that she wishes to master (in art). 

She loves studying it, and learning how everything man-made is designed based on the design of our bodies. She loves sculpting the muscles on the body and to show how expressive they are when they are in certain positions. Mendoza thinks the hands are the most expressive part of the body. She loves the idea of using them to convey different emotions with just the movement of the fingers.

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia July 2023 magazine via or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Photos courtesy of The Metro Gallery.

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