Another way to think about migraines


State of Stillness Restricted Path by Nirmala Nataraj, 2013 Pastel on Fabriano Paper 36" x 24"

State of Stillness, Restricted Path by Nirmala Nataraj, 2013 Pastel on Fabriano Paper 36″ x 24″

“I don’t want to draw migraines. Today, I want to work on the fatigue. Someone told me tiredness is held in the spleen. Let’s start with the words fatigue, depletion, and spleen.” 

fa-tigue \fe-‘teg\ n 1. weariness from labor or exertion 2. labor

spleen \’splen\ n 1. highly vascular ductless organ near the stomach 2 obs : the seat of emotions or passions 3 archaic : melancholy  4 : mingled ill will  5 obs : a sudden impulse of whim

Over the next uninterrupted hour of quiet, Nirmala and I quietly, mindfully paid attention to the words from the dictionary entries. The words from Nirmala’s inquiry into “splenic depletion and fatigue”, turned into metaphors. Phrases appeared and started to form a personal narrative which held meaning for Nirmala.

Round, yellow circles appear in Nirmala’s drawing. They represent “the state of stillness” she found her in-depth inquiry into the definitions of the words fatigue, depletion and spleen. They are her “active energy, her relative loudness, her sudden whim”.(See her prose poem below). The image in the center of the paper was inspired by a medical illustration of the main arteries in the spleen. These intertwining lines are Nirmala’s “restricted path”. The blue color acts as “the black bile substance”. When one draws diagnonal lines between the yellow circles, they create a cross. We see Nirmala’s “active crosses” behind and on top of her intricate “system of channels”. 

“State of Stillnesss, Restricted Path” by Nirmala Nataraj

State of Stillness restricted path–state of stillness empty of primal substance– the system of channels–black bile substance– impractical worth–fraudulent value–deprived of something essential–relative to the loudness of the active cross–the active cross–final destruction–sudden whim active cross–hybridized active cross-contradicted active cross-proclaims at the road–the misinterpreted opposition–on the thoroughfare

Restricted Path by Nirmala

State of Stillness, Restricted Path by Nirmala

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