creative practice + sanity + dignity

i am learning to surrender to rest a bit better too, which provides space for my vivid visions and nighttime dreams to bring me scenes + information about my ancestors, present relationships, and more. i work to address my history of codependence. i learn more deeply about practicing boundaries. i feel that the rest of 2020 is being laid out for millions of people to learn the beauty of a slowed down life even as scary things unfold around us.


by kelly shaw nyala
photo Michael Preston

i’ve been in practice for nearly 2 decades with hermit-life, meaning my introverted personality and recovery with CPTSD have shown me that alone time is preferred, healthy, and downright necessary for my creative practice + sanity + dignity. i find that quarantine is not a challenge for me, because i’ve been curating a quiet lifestyle for my entire adulthood. approximately 9 months ago, i transitioned back to the States after living abroad for 6-7 years in mostly rural tropical settings. reverse culture shock is REAL– i know in my heart that America doesn’t make sense to me, nor has it ever. i say all of this to say that it’s strange being in America amid the Pandemic, but my recent life experiences abroad have prepared me in many ways to fall into peace with life as slowed down and uncertain. i skim emails from the CDC and consult local bff’s for advice on how to navigate the world when out on supply-runs. otherwise, i am choosing to not engage with the fear tactics that live in news reports and in Trump’s hairbrained narcissistic updates. i just moved into a new living space wit a fellow bruja psychic roomie and am finding my flow. beading projects soothe me. working with my hands is meditative and also lets my brain rest a lil. same with coloring My Little Ponies. i make a lot of home cooked meals, have enjoyed 2-3 bubble baths a week, maintain a weekly video session with my therapist, have deep talks with my friends on the phone, vid, or email, and continue to deep-dive with research for personal creative projects. i allow for plenty of space to sort through + apply for artist’s assi$tance that is coming about as a result of COVID.

i am learning to surrender to rest a bit better too, which provides space for my vivid visions and nighttime dreams to bring me scenes + information about my ancestors, present relationships, and more. i work to address my history of codependence. i learn more deeply about practicing boundaries. i feel that the rest of 2020 is being laid out for millions of people to learn the beauty of a slowed down life even as scary things unfold around us. my practice itself is always happening– it’s just that i feel myself moving into a more disciplined space widdit. alas, the unfolding. (i also blow bubbles and burn a lot of candles in the evenings– both activities are romantic to me.) (i also really enjoy reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings as they arrive to my inbox and i watch plenty of videos about rescued pitbulls on The Dodo.)

Photo by Megan Murray

kelly shaw nyala (née Willman) is an (experimental/outsider) performance artist. as a performance artist, she blends sound, installation, & ritual; she gravitates towards sites in nature.

her largest project to date, new/mind/ritualz, launched in the spring of 2014; it is a 56-movement performance art offering released one movement at a time. n/m/r ultimately explores memories, demonstrates moments of personal growth in the present, & invokes rituals of healing + action for the collective future.

the artist is loyal to issues concerning the systematic oppression of all marginalized peoples. her blossoming expertise, however, is in reppin those born with a milli extra pores (artist-healers) who are more likely as a result of trauma, lack of access to compassionate mental health treatment & familial/social support, to fall thru the cracks. 

kelly identifies as an empath + highly sensitive person + introvert, a feminist, alien, bruja, reinita, bad bitch, homebody, poet, writer, beadworker, a practiced shadow worker, mental wellness advocate, an anti-rape activist, intergenerational trauma pattern breaker, independent researcher, & experientially engaged voice on recovery with Complex PTSD.

the artist’s work has been highlighted on The Global Fund for Women’s blog, by Ultracultural Others, Alexandra Arts, ART 511 Magazine, & CREATRIX Magazine. she was recently a part of EMINENT DOMAIN, an intersectional feminist explosion curated by Katie Cercone; it was held in the art district of NYC’s Chelsea at the former Robert Miller Gallery.

Follow her IG: https://www.instagram.com/kelly.shaw.nyala/

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