Stephanie “Alyrical” Gowdy
Stephanie’s powerful artworks positions people directly into nature, showing the power of the natural environment for healing and growth. As a black woman with epilepsy and being legally blind, Stephanie’s work reveals the spaces of hope and positivity we can live in when we deeply connect with ourselves and each other.
1) Thoughtful Growth shows just how deeply we are interlinked with the earth. For in nature, we can find peace and renewal at last. We become mindful and conscious, and held by the beauty of the world around us.
2) Drowning Growth is an emotional painting of a woman with greenery for hair and with a chest of water. Stephanie challenges the idea of suffering in order to blossom, showing that we do not have to force growth on ourselves by being negative and surviving hardship. She says in an interview with Mahyue Magazine, “Nobody has to learn all of life’s lessons through pain and suffering just so they can later blossom. They can just blossom”. Just like not destroying the environment, we have to tend to ourselves.
3) (Untitled) showing the young child clutching a balloon of the world, highlights our emotional connection to earth. It brings attention to the intergenerational experiences and the challenges that young people are facing as the climate crisis gets worse. It also speaks to the human impact we have on each other, with recent Black Lives Matter protests revealing the deep racial injustices in our societies.
Stephanie talks of responsibility, saying on her Instagram, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
4) (Unnamed) leaves us with the warmth and beauty of the world, a place we can thrive and sit in when we care for ourselves and the environment. It reminds us that we are inextricably tied to the sun, the skies, and in this we can find healing. The rising sun is a chance reborn, to believe in the endless possibilities for care and togetherness.
About the artist
Stephanie Gowdy also known as Alyrical is a visual artist born and raised in South Florida. Despite Alyrical’s many struggles in life such as being diagnosed with epilepsy, divorce, and literally losing sight and becoming legally blind Alyrical continues to use her inner vision to live out her purpose.
Alyrical's vision is that art can be for everyone, using it to not only create awareness for multiple topics but to bring society together. One of her favourite bible verses is Proverbs 29:18 "where here is no vision people perish."
Alyrical refuses to allow her life setbacks, health issues, or the loss of her sight to stop her sharing her vision and inspiring others to follow their dreams.
How does this piece express intersectionality?
Alyrical’s work brings together her experiences as a black artist with epilepsy, being legally blind as well as other struggles in her life, with her belief in healing and renewal. She believes that “nature has a certain peace and healing aspect to it that brings things together. I appreciate all the different stages of nature but renewal is my favorite, because I am a strong believer that we are able to renew and better ourselves on a daily basis.”
In doing so, Alyrical’s work challenges ableism and this idea we must suffer to be productive. Instead, we have permission to sit with the earth and learn through its gift how to be connected to ourselves. By connecting to this love, attending to our mental health and finding inspiration in nature, we will find so much strength to enjoy life.
Finally, Alyrical’s colourful paintings with their deep sense of emotion give hope to so many of us. It encourages us to accept ourselves, come together to challenge inequalities, and give space and voice for those who are healing.
How can you act?
Learn more about ecotherapy and other tips you can try with Mind
Learn about race and gender inequalities and share what you learn with your community
Diversify your feed, learn from people with disabilities and chronic illnesses as well as those who identify as LGBTQ+, BAME including Black and Indigenous.
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