Where do you find autonomy?

Week 8.

Unlike the past three weeks where we did live drawings of models, we drew our classmates and Kris for our in-class assignments this week. We focused on faces – how one feature is in relation to another.

In-class assignment – An incomplete drawing of Julius.
In-class assignment – A drawing of Kris.

The question posed to us for week eight’s assignment was: “Where do you find autonomy?“. We are to do two rough composition sketches, and one final drawing. For our final drawing, we were given a choice of drawing a space, place, somewhere we feel we can do what we want, somewhere nobody else tells us what to do, or to draw ourselves doing something we feel we have the freedom to make our own decisions.

Answering this question was a little tricky. I’ve to search deep within me, asking myself where exactly do I find this freedom of being my own individual self. According to dictionary.com,  autonomy is the independence or freedom, as of the will of one’s action. In my two sketches, I was exploring my interpretation of autonomy.

Sketch #01 – Autonomy in the dark, where the streets are relatively quiet, and most people are asleep. 2.01am at the area around Central Business District.

There is something strangely serene being by yourself in the hours where no one is really present. Not in a ‘creepily quiet’ way where it’s dangerous. Rather, the stillness of the air, the quiet streets and roads, starkly contrasted to the hustle and bustle of the day, that allows me to be at peace with myself – to have some healthy ‘alone’ time. I guess I found autonomy, though not full, in the wee hours of the night simply because the city is asleep. For a brief moment, I’m able to let go of the demands from the day – where I’m needed to be up and running. With my headphones plugged in, listening to my favourite songs, I’m able to unwind and I feel (relatively) free. Sketching our nation’s iconic landmark – Marina Bay Sands, away from the public eye.

Sketch #02 – Bathroom in the comfort of my home.

The second sketch is a drawing of the bathroom in the comfort of my home. I guess many might relate to the biological ‘autonomy’ they feel when they’re in the bathroom. The autonomy I’m referring to in this sketch is not one of biological intimacy but of isolation (not in a bad way). Contrary to feeling trapped and (possibly) claustrophobic in a small room, I feel somewhat free – free to express my rawest emotions without having to explain what might be written on my face. Because when the door of the bathroom is closed, there will be no questions asked. Perhaps it is when I’m alone that I’m able to find autonomy – to be able to freely think, reflect, and confront the voices in my head, with music as my companionship.

Final piece – a drawing of ‘doing something I feel I have the freedom to make my own decisions’.

After exploring my definition of autonomy in the above two sketches, I’ve decided to do my final piece based on a drawing of ‘doing something I feel I have the freedom to make my own decisions’ – that is when I’m holding a pen or a pencil. A place which I feel I can exercise full autonomy is in my mind – no one else has the authority to tell me how to think and what to think, but me. Writing and drawing are the mediums I use to engage in autonomy. I’m able to translate the thoughts I want to project physically, or conceal them by choosing not to make my mark at all. In my opinion, a pen and paper are powerful tools, powerful weapons if you may. With these two objects that may seem routine, I have the independence and liberty to make decisions on my word choices, syntax, expression – writing – and how harsh I want the lines, or how dark I want the shades to be – drawing.