Susan is an untrained self-taught artist. She started painting and self -harming at the age of three. She did not talk or communicate effectively for much of her life and that left art as the only healing tool in her very silent world. She spent thirty years in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Her story is reflected in her artwork, revealing the trauma that brought her into the mental health system as well as the horrors endured in the asylums.
Susan likes to incorporate her psychiatric meds, messages from her late twin brother, sewing, writing, and her beloved cat Cray Cray into her artwork. She paints on the floor.
“Growing up, my Trinidadian mother would force me to sit and sew nothing into thin air, as a punishment. Now as an adult, I hand sew my art to change a negative memory into a positive one, taking control back from her, and embracing my roots and culture she kept from me and India’s rich tradition of women sewing. My mother was very abusive to me, and would not teach me to speak Hindi. Now, I make something when I sew, and I enjoy it. I also honor my German great grandmother, the roots on my father’s side of women sewing.”
“I paint so I don’t kill myself. I create to stay alive. I’ve been suicidal since the age of three. I hope others will find refuge and validation through my work. Though I’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, pain is universal. My goal is to not only keep myself afloat, but send others sailing. ”
Susan was born in NYC, USA and still lives there. She thanks her psychoanalyst Hubertus Raben for being her lifeline, and dedicates her art to her late twin brother Robert, who died tragically of an overdose at the age of eighteen.
Check out Susan’s art videos on her YouTube Channel, under her stage name: