A Prayer to my Unborn Child, Nyima Dondrub Mohamed (2018) Pen and Ink on Paper
I am a queer artist of colour. The queerness of my work has been questioned and I wanted to share my views. It’s simple: I am queer. I am an artist. Consequently, the pieces I create are queer art. There are queer artists producing phenomenal work and I am honoured to be part of this movement. Their works explore many areas but a predominant theme, particularly amongst those who identify as masculine, is erotic. I follow the works of many of these artists as it is beautiful and relevant. We have experienced the suppression and erasure of queer sex for too long so it needs exposure. My sexuality is an essential aspect of my being but it is not all I am and it does not define me absolutely. In my art, I want to share the other aspects of my emotional, spiritual and physical being that are inherent to my queerness. We as queer people share a deeply rich culture that embraces so much that I want to explore these elements in my works, especially those themes that resonate with me personally.
I share my latest piece ‘A Prayer to my Unborn Child’. Do we as men, cis-gendered, queer or masculine identified, ever share our desire for children? A longing to care for another life? Rarely. Does our culture allow for this without judgement? We have been taught that these feelings belong to women – a false patriarchal assumption based on a women’s worth being tied to her ability to bear children. However, there are many women who choose not to have children or cannot have children via a natural birth. This does not make them less as women. This just makes them women with choices.
The freedom to exercise my personal choice, especially when confronted by systems and structures that seek to deny my voice as a QPOC, is a fundamental part of my queer identity. My queerness is a fluid space that can hold a plethora of experience and ideas beyond the (hetro)normative.
It took many years to admit my queerness and recognise its gifts I was deeply ashamed and scared. I came out but fell apart inside. This was the beginning of a long and painful journey to unearth my authentic self. I discovered that my authenticity and queerness were one.
As a child, I inhabited a body that wasn’t yet mine. I was a spirit inhabiting a haunted house. I wanted to escape from the traumas that strained its foundations; the memories that whispered behind its walls. I lived a half-life between the living and the dead. I found solace in the shadows, the liminal spaces; the crag and the forest. I took refuge in my mind where I built landscapes filled with magic. I was powerful for I was seen. I was seen and accepted.
Over the years I stripped away lifetimes of pain. Slowly, the seed of a new life began to germinate. I took residence in my body. I began to live within it and live with it.
My body is a queer body: it is suffused with my femininity; my masculinity and that which is non-binary; that which is two-spirit; that which is wild and feral; that which is the witch; that which is the mother; the father and the sacred whore. My queer body moves in space.
Sometimes, these movements are expressed with ink and paper. As I explore the terrains of my being, themes arise. This is the inception. The process unformed swirls in my subconscious; briefly coalescing before dissipating again. The cycle repeats but and each time the psychic fragments meet remain for longer. The process slows; a body builds. It pricks at my conscious as it comes into the light of awareness. I feel it under my skin. It hangs in my body, like a fruit ripening. This is the gestation. I feed this new life, with my intention and prayers. It turns, it flips, it moves and it kicks. It’s ready. It’s time. It pushes against my frame and I begs its release. I take my pen and sit with my paper… so it begins and so it ends. My psychic offering is made; imbued with intention it becomes a visual spell to work its magic through gossamer threads that infuse samsara and bind our karma.
This offering, I share with you, is my prayer to my unborn child. The child that I will parent. It is also a spell to nurture and soothe our inner-child:
You are loved.
You are loved beyond measure.
My tender blossom, most precious jewel, my love will nourish you and will teach you to nourish yourself.
May I gift you the means to love and accept yourself in the perfection of all that you are.
Everything you feel and experience, whether light or dark, is all part of your perfect path.
Know your truth. It is your gift to yourself and this world.
I cannot protect you from all the pain this world contains, but I will help you navigate its terrains.
You will be ready for this world, my compassionate warrior.
I will teach you to remain in your centre when wild storms surround you.
Be grounded. Know that you are made of earth.
Be limitless. Know that you are made of star-fire.
May you be blessed with the understanding that everything you experience is an aid on your path.
May you be blessed with the knowledge that pain is a gift that will soften and open your most precious heart.
May you know your boundaries but not build an armour to obscure your light.
May you gifted with tenderness and the strength this brings.
My sun and moon, universes are within you.
You are Woman.
You are Man.
You are their union and
You are neither but your Own.
No label can define you – how can mere words touch upon your magnificent complexity.
Your heart is your key. I will teach you how to listen to it. Trust it, for it will always keep you safe.
You are allowed to feel. Anything you experience is valid.
You are allowed to cry. May the tears you shed cleanse you.
May your mind be blessed with tranquility and equanimity.
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself space.
May your mind know rest. May you experience its’ clarity and luminosity.
May you know the energy of love is freedom. Never allow it to be constrained by your fears.
Know that it is in the giving we receive.
Be generous in spirit.
Your brown skin is your wealth: burnished gold with the breath of our ancestors.
May you remain a child of wonder. Wonder-full.
May you wake each day with gratitude for your most precious human life.
You are a gift to this world.
I love you.