Sky Lilah wants to invite you to experience her vulnerability. And in doing so, she hopes that others will be more willing to do the same.
Quantum Sky, the upcoming exhibition from Sky to be held at Art @Bentall throughout the month of December, is an exploration of herself in a way that is new to her.
“I’ve never really done a lot of abstract,” she says. “It just never really felt quite right with me. But for this one, I’m basically doing a series of abstracts, but they still have an intention behind them, and they’re inspired. But I’m more just letting go a little bit and being more of a—instead of knowing what I’ll paint, my intention is to just surrender ‘me’ and then be more of a vessel and just paint.”
Sky readily admits she is a planner and an organizer. She is motivated by outlining a direction and then moving forward in an orderly fashion.
“I have a spreadsheet for everything. I have a spreadsheet for the books that I read, what percentage of an audiobook I need to listen to each to finish it by this date to reach my goal … I am a very dominant left brain person.”
But this exhibition is her chance to work without the safety net of a plan or a spreadsheet. Instead, she has more than 20 canvases in various stages of completion and a guiding theme.
In early November, Sky had the opportunity to attend a six-day intensive consciousness exploration program. The goal was to help connect the mind with the body and understand they are used together in sync rather than simply being complementary to one another after the fact.
When she returned home and was left staring at a room full of blank canvases, it was this work of self-discovery that became the impetus for her show.
“I had an idea to put 20 smaller ones on the right side of the room, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to paint yet. And I started to sit down and that’s when the idea came to me. And I thought, ‘Okay, this wall’s going to be inspired by Chakras,’ which I then realized I’m going to need 21 canvases.”
Each series of three canvases uses the colours associated with the seven Chakras. This colour then becomes the dominant one of her palette for that group.
Each Chakra has a different meaning, rising from a physical nature at the bottom root Chakra to higher-level concepts of awareness and self-actualization in the Crown Chakra.
Sky says each painting is personal to her in terms of what that particular Chakra means and how that meaning is reflected in her life, but she also understands these themes may have different meanings to her audience.
“I’m definitely nervous because I have no idea how they’re going to turn out. I’ve never done abstract,” Sky says. “Usually when I do, I don’t like them. And when I don’t like something, I don’t want to show it, because it doesn’t feel true. So, I’m sort of surrendering to the idea of me perhaps not loving it and trusting that whatever it is will connect with somebody else and make them feel connected or unconditionally loved.”
Facing fears … in public
It is easy to view it as strange for one to expose themselves so openly for public consumption. Normally, when we explore something within ourselves, we choose a safe space to do so, one where we can control all possible outcomes.
But that is not Sky. It does not suit her. That is not what being an artist is about.
Being an artist is having the ability to be vulnerable in a public space in the hope that others are inspired by it, feel something from it and, when it truly works, learn something about themselves.
But that does not mean it is easy.
“I always have the intention of stepping into my fears and trying to be more vulnerable, consciously trying to go against my ego,” she says. “I know you can’t fully let go of your ego, but not letting stuff like that control me and putting it into place.”
That is what Quantum Sky brings. It is the artist exploring an aspect of themselves through their art and letting others into that process.
“A lot of it is just trusting the process, which is I guess why I paint in the first place, which I find funny because I’m so organized in life. And when it comes to artwork, I find I just need to start and figure it out as I go, as opposed to planning it all and then starting.”
Quantum Sky opens December 2 with a reception between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. The exhibition runs until the end of the month.