Pelenakeke Brown Faceless Portrait


When there’s an absence, you have to fill it with something. Time will always passgrowing denotes the passing of time. After my grandmother died, I cut my hair very short.

Every day, I have been completing a faceless portrait of myself, focusing on the hair extending out from my body, noting the subtle changes each day as time passes, for over a year now. The same person, but many different variations. The myth of myself.

As I grew my short hair long, I drew my hair out. I am exploring the Samoan concept of the va or ‘space,’ which often connotes context, history, and the spaces in between. Through the specific lines of growth and time, I am exploring my own va, and the va around my va as a Samoan woman.

The artist Saul Steinberg defined drawing as “reasoning on paper.” Through my drawings, I am reasoning myself, my space in the world, the way I hold space with myself and others, and the spaces in between.