Vintage ANMLY 131: Isa Benn’s Mixed-Media Self-Care
Today we’re diving back to ANMLY25’s GLITTERBRAIN folio, curated by Sarah Clark. This folio captured writing and art from neurodiverse communities, giving witness to “our common goals of humanization and liberation. Because we’re real, and because we’re luminous.” Isa Benn’s dreamy mixed-media photos and illustrations in the folio are visual poems of self-care.
In “Having Now Fallen In Love Again 1/3” (featured above), a monochromatic diptych pairs two circular self-portraits against celestial backdrops. These images orbit side by side, symmetrically facing outwards from the center. The doubled self-portraits subvert the title’s expected pairing of two different people who have fallen in love. Instead, Isa falls in love with herself.
In “Slumberland” (featured below), we see another dreamy self-portrait, this time saturated in other-worldly but calm red. We see a face at rest, eyes closed and head tilted upwards. Benn tightly crops the face so we can’t quite see the top of the head. Her head rests against swirling doodles invoking a dreamscape. A frame bordering her also features the title graphic from Winsor McCay’s fantasy comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland.
Twenty-six-year-old award-winning Screenwriter, Playwright, Filmmaker and Multimedia Visual Artist Isa Benn is currently based out of Toronto, Canada. She is a first generation, Toronto native of African-Canadian and Caribbean-Canadian descent. With several highly visual-sensory ‘handicaps’, including synesthesia and or ideasthesia, she has parlayed these long-time impediments into an extraordinary understanding of visceral-visual language and expression. Her stylistically introspective work deals predominantly with experiential culturalism, colour, class, sexuality, gender, and magical realism.