The New Youth Council Online Showcase - Eraj Ali Zaidi

Eraj Ali Zaidi

Electrocuted (2021)

Eraj Ali Zaidi

Artist Statement

This piece is about toxic perfectionism, tying self-worth to performance and thus feeling a need to perform the best in all ways to ensure that I am seen as an impressive individual. I used electricity to convey this mental habit. The left side of the mask represents truth--I am tiredly running in a hamster wheel, an endless cycle with no finish line. The right side represents delusion--the illustrations of a magician and a boxer are glorified versions of myself, representing who I want to be and how I want to be seen by others. The easy use batteries represent how my friends see me compared to the hamster wheel--constantly providing, with little rest needed. The phrases on the batteries "I'm having fun" and "keep running" are lies I tell myself to keep going, while the signs on top of the wheel represent what I actually think: "Where is my peace? When can I stop? My eyes hurt." If light represents hope and happiness, why does generating electricity hurt so much? My piece shows how I am wasting time running after what I can't reach, but I must learn to let myself enjoy life as the person I am.

As an artist, I try to create a story out of every piece. I always wish my art to raise the question of, "who is this?" I don't want the viewer to just see an object or a subject--I want them to see an individual in the piece, a scene, something going on. I love storytelling in comics. I love the different emotions and narrative behind the panels. It's what I want others to see when they look at my art. My comfort zone is pen and pencil, but I love exploring new materials and I am currently learning how to create settings and scenes with mixed media. I want to find ways to make my art more adventurous and risky, and I hope to find challenges in the future that will force me out of my comfort zone and challenge both my thinking and confidence.


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