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Period Story Podcast, Episode 3: Sharon Walters, Understanding Your Body Can Help Your Self-Esteem & Confidence

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For the third episode of the Period Story Podcast, I was honoured to speak with Sharon Walters, the London Artist. We spoke about shame and cleanliness, learning about periods and menstrual health in a family where children were seen and not heard, hiding her sanitary towels from her father, the effects of feeling disconnected from yourself and how Sharon learned that she didn’t need to live with a heavy period. Sharon also shared how her collage series, Seeing Ourselves, has allowed her to feel strong, confident and connected with herself and her body.

Sharon says that understanding her body has helped improve her confidence and self-esteem and how believing in herself has opened up so many opportunities for her.

Sharon Walters is an artist, educator and a part-time coordinator of community engagement programmes at a London museum. She graduated from Central St Martins in 2011 with a BA in Fine Art, holds a Post Graduate Teaching and Learning Certificate in post-16 citizenship education, and a BA in social science from Thames Valley University. Since January 2018, Sharon has been working on a mixed media collage series entitled Seeing Ourselves. Now with over 200 pieces in the collection, she has exhibited in a number of public spaces including the NOW gallery in Greenwich and the New Ashgate Gallery in Surrey. Her work is shared regularly on Instagram through on her London_artist1 account

Seeing Ourselves explores identity, beauty standards, representation and Afro hair. Her limited-edition prints and bespoke collages have been acquired by collectors globally, and she has delivered collage workshops for clients including the National Trust. Sharon makes hand-assembled collages almost daily as a way to be present, reflective and mindful, each collage gives her the space and permission to ‘take up space’ even in places where she so often does not see herself represented.

By exploring diverse narratives through partnerships and providing platforms for under-represented voices to be heard, Sharon has a number of collaborations planned with artists, organisations and groups which will continue to develop both her art practice and community outreach work. The fluidity between the socially engaged practice within the museum and community projects and her art practice has developed over the past 20 years through working with people in various formal and informal educational settings.

Find Sharon on Instagram @london_artist1 and on her website London Artist 1.

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Show Notes

Sharon’s upcoming exhibit at the Mall Galleries’ Art For Youth show

Love Sober podcast

Love Sober collage workshop Saturday 1st February booking through the Love Sober website

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Show Transcript

Le’Nise: On today’s episode we have Sharon Walters. Sharon is an artist, educator and a part time coordinator of Community Engagement Program at a London museum. Since January 2018, Sharon has been working on a mixed media collage series entitled Seeing Ourselves, now with over 200 pieces in the collection. She has exhibited in a number of public spaces, including the Now Gallery in Greenwich and the New Ashgate Gallery in Surrey. Her work is shared regularly on Instagram through her @London_artist1 account. Welcome to the show.

Sharon: Hi, Hi Le’Nise.

Le’Nise: So let’s start off by getting into the story of your first period. Can you share with us what happened?

Sharon: So I can’t remember the exact specifics, but I know I was around the age of eleven. I do remember the feelings that I had around that time, which was that it wasn’t really something to be that excited about. And I think that just stems from the way we talked about periods and the way they were viewed. And probably my experiences of both my mum and my nan. So those kinds of experiences were passed down to us really.

Le’Nise: Can you tell us a little bit more about some of the experiences that were passed on that made you feel not very excited about your first period?

Sharon: Well, I do remember that quite a lot of the time periods weren’t really spoken about. So I remember a particular time when my nan was, she had this ottoman at the end of the bed. And I remember opening the ottoman and finding her sanitary towels and she was really annoyed that I’d found these sanitary towels and she was a lovely woman, but she was really annoyed I found them. And she said to me, you know, you can’t those aren’t for you. Those are women’s. Those are for women and, you know, it was just slammed shut. So I think that was my initial introduction to what a period was but later on, my mum, she just basically had really super heavy periods that were always painful and so that was the kind of narrative I grew up around, that they was something that were really difficult, they happened to, and they just weren’t very enjoyable.

Le’Nise: So your nan was really annoyed that you found her sanitary towels. If you think back now on it, why do you think she was so annoyed?

Sharon: I think maybe she just didn’t have the words to explain what periods were to a child and also I grew up in a time where children were to be seen and not heard. So you didn’t really have a voice. You were seen to be a child. And as a child, you only did childlike things and discussed childlike things. So anything beyond that was seen as something completely separate and you’re trying to be too fast or you’re trying to be too involved in big people’s conversations. It was that kind of rhetoric.

Le’Nise: Given that rhetoric, how did you learn about menstrual health and what was actually happening to your body?

Sharon: I didn’t really learn at all. I knew that I had a period every month, but I was never really told what that whole process was about. I don’t think I even knew that you could get pregnant, yeah at that point those kinds of discussions didn’t really happen. What really happened was this is your period, here are the sanitary towels, you don’t use tampons because you’re too young, and that was it, that was the only discussions we really had. I just knew it was something that I couldn’t let my dad see. So you couldn’t really leave any remnants of your period, it was that there was a lot of shame attached to having a period. Yeah.

Le’Nise: You said you just knew that you couldn’t let your dad see it. Where did that knowledge come from?

Sharon: My mum.

Le’Nise: Oh, so she had told you?

Sharon: Yeah. So if, for example, there was a tiny bit of blood, maybe that might’ve been in the toilet or there were sanitary towels, you know, you had to make sure everything was, and I understand that you obviously don’t want everyone seeing your menstrual blood, but I kind of grew up feeling like it was something really, really dirty and it was something that it wasn’t for men to say. And it was kept very separate from my relationship with my father.

Le’Nise: Have you ever had any conversations with your father around these topics?

Sharon: No, no, no, I haven’t. And I don’t know if I, maybe after this, I might, but I’ve never had those discussions. It was just I think the way we grew up was, it was something you spoke to about with your mum or I might have spoken to my nan, but then the conversations would be very, very limited and you knew there were boundaries that you just couldn’t cross. And then there was just no one else that you could speak to about that stuff. So you kind of grew up not, I grew up not really understanding and not knowing what was going on with my body at all. And I felt quite I think now looking back with hindsight, I feel quite disconnected and I always have done with my period.

Le’Nise: Even today?

Sharon: Yeah. I don’t think I ever really, It just kind of seems to happen every month. It’s definitely not as heavy as it used to be, it used to be horrendously heavy and I used to leak regularly at night and I used to wear multiple sanitary towels that I would have to change constantly and it just became normal to be leaking everywhere and to be in pain and to be taking loads and loads of Ibuprofen tablets to deal with the pain. 

And I think just because I grew up with that, you know, that story that, well, those experiences of my mum and my nan, that this is what happens. I just took it as being normal and I think it was only when I met you and started following you on Instagram, I was like, oh, she’s saying that periods don’t need to be heavy and that completely blew my mind because I knew that some people didn’t have heavy periods, obviously. I just thought it was quite normal and so it’s taken me over 40 years to start to see things differently and I really think that was only through meeting you.

Le’Nise: Wow. So going back to what you were saying about this idea of shame and periods being something really dirty. Do you think that that feeling translated into other areas of your life and the way you felt about your body?

Sharon: Yeah, I think when I grew up Catholic and [the] relationship with sex, for example, was seen as something you don’t do until marriage and the idea of living with someone, for example, before marriage was seen as living in sin. And so, yeah, I think that fits around that whole kind of idea of things being dirty if not done in a certain way, and there was very, very particular rules that you had to follow in order to be seen or perceived as clean, if that makes sense? And it wasn’t until my late teens that I started undo those stories a little bit by you know, when I was 20 I met my husband and we lived in sin and it was seen as living in sin.

Le’Nise: So no sex until marriage, this idea of…

Sharon: I don’t follow that one though. I was like, yeah that’s cute, but no thanks.

Le’Nise: I’m really interested in this idea of cleanliness and periods being dirty. You didn’t really talk to your grandmother or your mum about it. I know you have a sister, did you have any conversations with her, your sister?

Sharon: No, I can’t remember conversations with my sister around periods. And if I probably asked her, we probably did but I’m getting a bit older now and I just can’t recall the conversations. But I remember her experience not being that great either, as in, she also had heavy periods, but that’s as much as I remember. I remember her experiences to a certain extent but I can’t remember any real conversations.

Le’Nise: What about your friends?

Sharon: I just remember me having the heaviest periods and it being really frustrating and really difficult and just knowing that a few days every single month I’d be in a lot of pain and they’d be so happy and I’d constantly be changing sanitary towels and leaking, as I said, and then just not being able to wait until it was over.

Le’Nise: So you didn’t really talk to your friends about what was going on?

Sharon: I don’t think I did. I just think I kind of felt as though this was something that had been passed down as in and I don’t know how true this is, but I felt that because my mum had really, really heavy periods, it was an absolute that I would have heavy periods and that would be my experience and there was nothing that I could do to change that because it was something that you just put up with and got on with it and it was a few days a month and then you could move on until the next one.

Le’Nise: Actually reading about sanitary towels and what to do. Did you just read the packet and just figure all of these things out for yourself?

Sharon: Yeah, I think my mum might’ve initially showed me that you just take off you know, those those sticky plastic things or the thing that attaches to the sticky thing at the bottom and you just lay them in your knickers and that was it, there wasn’t anything else to really be told I don’t think. And I remember having to tear them up and put them down the toilet, that’s what I’ve just remembered. Yeah, having to tear the up, ew.. That makes me feel quite sick.

Le’Nise: So you would actually take your used pads…

Sharon: Yeah, I’m sure I did. Yeah.

Le’Nise: And then put them down the loo.

Sharon: Yeah.

Le’Nise: Oh wow.

Sharon: I know. Oh I’m going quite deep now.

Le’Nise: Do you do that anymore?

Sharon: No. That’s why I was mortified, like *gasp* I used to do that.

Le’Nise: What’s really interesting is lots of women they still think that it’s OK to flush a tampon down the loo.

Sharon: Really?

Le’Nise: Yeah and I have seen posts on Instagram where people talk about, oh, how much tampon waste is contributing to things, you know, clogging up the sewers and the drains and in the comments you see women saying things like, oh, my God, I had no idea that I wasn’t supposed to flush them down to the loo.

Sharon: Sorry to interrupt but that’s really interesting because in public toilets you see that your space for all sanitary in, you know, one of those sanitary bins next to the toilet. So why would you think at home that you’re… It’s really interesting.

Le’Nise: I think sometimes, like I can speak for my own personal experience. Like when I was using tampons, I had no idea, I would either just flush it down the toilet or in public, I would perhaps wrap it up and put it in that bin but I didn’t make the connection and I can’t explain why, it just never clicked in my mind until I started doing this work and reading around it. But yeah. Tampon waste and all menstrual pad waste is a huge problem for the sewer and water companies in terms of cleaning the water. So I think that’s really interesting that you were told to rip up your pads and flush them down the loo. Yeah. What about your education in school? Did you have sex ed in school and did it cover anything to do with menstrual health?

Sharon: I can’t recall it covering anything to menstrual health. I remember, possibly we talked about sex as in how you reproduce but I don’t remember any real kind of education around what was happening to my body at that time.

Le’Nise: So thinking about the education that you received in these areas. Do you think it’s changed the way that you speak to your kids? I know you have a son and a daughter, about these topics?

Sharon: Yeah, yeah, it has. Definitely, so with my son, he’s a lot more aware of what happens in terms of, you know, reproduction, but also in terms of periods. And my daughter, I’ve just recently started telling her a lot more. But she’s 7 and my son is 11 but I just want them both to be aware of what happens to a woman’s body, because I feel like it will change their relationship with their own bodies, especially my daughter, change her relationship with her body. 

She started to ask me questions about “does it hurt mummy? And, you know, what does the sanitary towel feel like against your skin and does it hurt when the blood comes out?” So she’s asking me a lot of questions and she started asking questions probably within the last year. 

It makes me happy that she will be better equipped hopefully than I was. And it’s not that I blame my parents or think they did a bad job. I think it was just, they thought they were doing what was best, and I’m sure at that time that was for them what was best. But just learning from my experiences, I think it’s really important that my daughter has a different relationship with her body and I think having that understanding of your body and what it’s actually doing can really help you in terms of your self-esteem and your confidence and just your relationship with your body because it’s such an important relationship.

Le’Nise: Your daughter is really curious about everything that you’ve been talking to her about. Curiosity, but has she had any other reactions and has she talked to her friends about these things?

Sharon: Oh, I don’t know. I’m not sure. I’ve got no idea. She’s a really interesting character, so she might have done, goodness knows. I’m not sure she would even tell me, actually she probably would tell me if she’s spoke to her friends. Even at her age already, she has a very distinctive personality, which we talked about before but I think she quite likes her independence with her friends and, you know, having her own conversations than… So, yes, she probably has spoken maybe a little bit.

Le’Nise: Mm hmm.

Sharon: Oh, I’m intrigued now. I’m going to have to ask her.

Le’Nise: The conversations you’ve had with your son. How has he reacted?

Sharon: He’s been fine, really. His reaction to talking about periods has been, he just really listened and asked a few questions, but not very much, not on the level that my daughter did, but recently actually he told me he was quite annoyed that I had had those conversations with her earlier and before I could even respond my daughter chipped in and said, “but it’s actually my body and it’s going to happen to me, so that’s why I need to know”, and I was like, “oh, girl.”. I just apologised and said it wasn’t intentional but she was not having it at all. She was like, well its happening to me so, of course, I need to know sooner than you do and that was interesting because I hadn’t really realised I’d done that.

Le’Nise: Did you think that you didn’t need to have those conversations with him?

Sharon: I don’t know. I don’t think was necessarily that, I think because I had my daughter for 2 1/2 years after having him, by the time I could have probably started talking to him about things, I was really busy trying to mother a second child as well and I think it just wasn’t really on my radar. I was just struggling so much and still am with motherhood and everything else. And maybe there was a part of me that thought actually he’s a boy so he might not need to know just yet or I don’t know. I don’t think it was particularly intentional, maybe it’s a subconscious thing that I just thought actually, he’s a boy, it’s not happening to him. Maybe little M was right in what she was talking about? You know, my response to telling her, you know, earlier than him.

Le’Nise: I think it’s interesting the idea of talking to boys about periods and the menstrual cycle, because, you know, it might not happen to them directly, but it will impact them. So, you know, they might have a daughter, they might have a wife, they certainly have a mother.

Sharon: Yeah. I think that’s partly the reason why I told her it was a selfish reason, because I’ve just remembered something where I explained to him that sometimes my moods can get quite low and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m annoyed with him or with anything currently going on, but it just means that it might be my monthly cycle and it changes my mood and I explained all that kind of stuff to him and then he started to get a little bit and he will occasionally say, “are you on your period mum?”. 

Sometimes I’m just like, “No, I’m just a  bit grumpy”, but I’ve tried to help him in terms of his emotional intelligence, so I have said to him, occasionally, I get moody and it might not necessarily be to do with my period, but if he sees me like that, then if he could get me, for example, a camomile tea, then that would be great and he does that every now and again. And also it’s a good sign for me to show so that I’m aware that he feels as though my mood isn’t quite right or that I might be being a bit difficult, because let’s face it, we’re not perfect. 

And so, yeah, it’s almost like an unwritten, unspoken understanding between each other. It’s like a little code for ‘mum is not quite right right now’. And I really like that and thankfully, he hasn’t brought me too many camomile teas, but he will ask because that means something’s not right but it just makes me feel like he at least understands me a little better.

Le’Nise: It’s a lovely sign of his growing emotional intelligence.

Sharon: Mm hmm. And he is a really sensitive, lovely child, he really is. He’s super kind and generous and he’s now eleven, his personality is changing a bit and his moods are going up and down and I have explained to him that as difficult as it is for him at this stage, it’s also difficult for me as well, because as much as I have worked with children and teenagers and adults over the last 20 years, he has to understand that I haven’t parented a pre-teen or a teenager before and it is a different space that we’re beginning to occupy and I have said to him that as patient as I need to be with him, he also needs to be patient with me, because we’re both learning together. And so, yeah, occasionally I will remind him of that.

Le’Nise: And do you think he understands that idea of patience being a two way street?

Sharon: I don’t think he understands it for his age, no, but all I can do is try and help him to understand because it’s something that I need to understand as well. You know, we are really both in it together, we really are.

Le’Nise: I want to touch on your collage series, Seeing Ourselves. You mentioned earlier that you felt disconnected from your period and from your body. Talk a little bit about the inspiration for your collage series and perhaps how it’s changed the way that you see your body.

Sharon: Oh, the collage series has been amazing in that it’s given me a chance to really express myself and have a voice and change my relationship with my body and improve my confidence so much and the reason why I started the series was because I felt like I didn’t see myself in a number of spaces. 

So, for example, in an arts and heritage sector, I applied for a museum, you know, there are very, very few women of African descent. I’m not saying there aren’t any but I felt like in an environment that I was working in and the conferences that I would go to, the workshops or the talks for museum professionals, I just don’t see women like me reflected back and I started to feel quite disconnected. I also didn’t see myself in magazines and that has stopped to change, for example, Vogue, and I absolutely love that magazine now. But I didn’t see myself represented, I didn’t see myself when I went to galleries or in museums and in particular, I wanted to see women with natural Afro hair because I felt as though my experience growing up was that my hair would be chemically straightened from I think the age of ten, possibly. Which is really interesting because it was around eleven when I started my period. So in terms of my identity, developing my relationship with my body wasn’t great, with my period starting and I didn’t know what was going on. So that was something that was natural that was happening to me and now I think about it at the same time my natural hair was growing and actually thinking about it was earlier that my hair straightened. It was definitely hot combed earlier and so all these things that were natural, that were happening to me weren’t anything to be celebrated. 

And through making the series, it allows me to take up space, I think, and take up space in places where I don’t see myself. So every single collage features a woman with natural Afro hair and I have been asked, which I think is a crazy question, why only black women with natural Afro hair? My response is ‘Why not?’. Because I don’t feel as though white artists are asked why they are not inclusive of other people and then ask why are you not making artwork about black women with Afros? You know, I’m not convinced they get that question. And also, it’s my space where I get to make the rules, there are no restrictions, there are no boundaries, there’s no one telling me what to do. I just feel so empowered by the series. 

I feel so empowered by the connections I’ve made, the women I’ve met, people who support my work, people who’ve responded to it both literally in the gallery spaces or when I’m doing a talk or a workshop but also the people online and the idea that the work is now in a number of different countries as well where they’ve bought them and I’ve sent them to them which just completely blows my mind and it makes me really humble that from something that provides me with so much relaxation, so much calm and is such a meditative process. It’s bizarre that other people, and it’s wonderful, that other people connect with the work.

Le’Nise: You said that the collage series has improved your confidence. So how do you see yourself now?

Sharon: Oh, that’s a really good question. How do I see myself now? I see myself as strong now, I see myself as I feel like it’s more than okay to be me. And I feel that if I’m too much for some people, you know that saying if people feel like you’re too much for them, they are not your people. That’s okay, too. 

And I think that maybe before I wanted people to really like me and I wanted to fit in. And I remember having my son and feeling really disconnected because I felt as though I didn’t fit, we’d moved to a new area. I had no friends in the area and within the friendship groups, I was the only black mum. Maybe there was one or two others, but predominantly the mums were white and I and as much as I love those friendships, still most felt like I didn’t see myself but now I see myself as strong and driven and yeah, and able to do what I set out to do. And I just felt as though I was getting to a point in my life where if I didn’t start believing in myself and trying to achieve my dreams, then when would I, you know that whole thing of ‘if not now when’, oh I’m coming out with them this morning, aren’t I. But if not now, when? I just felt like, gosh, I’m 40, you know, I think I was 43 at the time, now if I don’t start doing this stuff, you know, I’ve got this art degree, I’ve got this experience so I can be creative. Why not just go for it and see what happens and just keep making the work? And I got a lot of encouragement from people on Instagram, a huge amount of encouragement. You know, those months where I was literally making a new piece every single day. I got a lot of encouragement and I still do. It’s just been completely magical journey, really.

Le’Nise: So you feel stronger now, you feel more confident. Do you feel more of a connection with your body and yourself?

Sharon: Yeah and I think that partly comes from the fact that I stopped drinking about a year ago. I feel like I deal with my feelings head on, and my emotions head on, so if I’m happy, I’m happy because I’m really happy and I have to deal with that happiness, if I’m sad, ooh, we’ve got to deal with sadness, too. And I feel like even with the odd glass of wine, it obviously alters your state slightly. It’s not that I’m anti alcohol, but when it got to the point where I would have a sip of alcohol and it would give me a pounding headache, then it was time for me to go actually and trust me, it was ridiculous, I did keep trying as though it was a health food that I needed to really get into my body, which is ridiculous. But I think when you’ve got a particular way of coping with everyday life and you’ve always done that, it’s very difficult to then go actually, well, I’m going to have to cut some paper and glue it back together and just deal with my emotions. 

I think it’s definitely had an impact with how I view my body and how I see myself and it’s also improved my mental health hugely, hugely, because creating collages gives me that time to really breathe. You know, when you can sit up to six hours and just cut and you can be in a room like I sit next to my husband a lot of the time creating the work on the sofa watching TV and he’ll be watching and I’ll be cutting and we’ll be talking and I’ll be listening to him and when you give yourself time to just do something that’s very selfish, very about you and no one else. 

People ask me, do the kids get involved in your collages and do they help? They have a couple of times, but this is really my space, if they want to make a college, they’re more than welcome to make something next to me or, you know, make their own pieces and I do encourage that but I don’t think everything needs to be connected to someone else. 

It’s okay to be by yourself, I think that’s not necessarily a narrative that is encouraged, especially when you’re a mother. You’re quite often encouraged to be giving, you know, giving everything to your kids and that’s great if that’s what you want to do but equally if you don’t want to do that, then you should be allowed to do some craft or take time for yourself. And for me, it only makes me a better mother. I’m not saying I’m perfect, definitely not perfect but what is perfect? but it definitely makes me better than I would be without creativity.

Le’Nise: So this collage series has been a real jumping off point for you in so many different ways to improve your confidence, it’s giving you space for yourself and made you stronger and actually, the whole mental health angle is really fascinating as well. You said you know what your emotions are and you’re not hiding them with alcohol anymore, if you feel something, then you that’s what you feel and I think that’s really important and so many people I speak to do use things to hide their emotions, you know, and I think that’s part of being human but it’s really fascinating that you’ve been able to identify that and use that as a source of, you know, being a bit more clear eyed about yourself.

Sharon: Yeah, I think it’s just brought a certain level of clarity and acceptance for myself and love from myself, really. I feel like my life is a lot fuller. And I still have my moments of, ‘I’ve got too much to do and how am I going to manage it all?’. And that is completely normal. Obviously, when you’re in it, it doesn’t feel normal but I feel so much better just with making and with sharing what I’m doing with other people and showing people that there are other ways to relax. 

I want to explain the state really that I get into when I when I create the collages, so it goes from ‘um what am I going to make?’.  And I don’t think about what the piece will look like. I start with a portrait and I start cutting and I just cut away the thing, the pieces that instinctively feel right and to remove, look at light and shade. I might remove the light sections of someone’s face or the light in the clothing or a background. I keep cutting away and then it begins to flow and that feeling of flow is so beautiful. It’s really difficult to explain. 

I recently did a workshop with Mandy and Kate from Love Sober podcast and they talked about flow in the introduction and so many people in the workshop said that they entered that state and they hadn’t collaged before, so it felt really special that all of these women had entered that state through me doing the workshop, that felt super special, I was like *gasp*, it felt like the biggest gift you could give someone and people just got into it and that feeling of, you know, outside things don’t matter and you might be talking to someone, but you’re entering something completely different, where something else takes over and you’re just in it and that’s why collaging for me is meditative, because it allows me to not just relax and create something and people might like it, you know, or I can create a bespoke piece for someone and they’ll go, oh, I love that. 

That’s a great feeling too, but the process is so beautiful and so healing and it doesn’t matter what’s been going on day, I could be having the most hideous day but if I just give myself that time to create something at the end of it, it all goes away. Yeah, it all goes away.

Le’Nise: You’ve really gone on a journey from this eleven year old girl who wasn’t sure what was happening to her to this 43 year old woman.

Sharon: 44 but it’s okay, it’s only a year.

Le’Nise: A 44 year old who has greater confidence, feeling strong, who has a better sense of herself and I think that’s really fascinating. And if any listener is connecting with what you’re saying, what’s the one thing you would want them to take away from this podcast?

Sharon: That it doesn’t matter what’s gone before but just start with today, to start with today and think a lot about what you want to achieve, who you want to be, what you want your legacy to be. 

And I think in working with the museum that I work with, I look at community engagement and my work is about encouraging people who are not the typical museum audience to take up space in that museum. So underrepresented groups, so the work I do really ties in with my collage series because it’s about me taking up space. I really want people to think about legacy a lot really in working at the museum and it’s made me think about what my legacy would be and I really want people to think about what their legacy would be. It doesn’t need to be huge, you don’t need to, I don’t know, it doesn’t have to be huge, but just something that means something to you, something that you’d be proud of. What do you want your story to be? 

And it doesn’t matter how old you are. I never, ever expected to be doing what I’m doing now. I always hoped I would but I just got to a point, especially after having my son, that I just thought I can’t, I couldn’t even imagine leaving the house without him or having real time on my own, and the same with my daughter, I just thought I want to achieve those things that I thought I was going to achieve, so I just think to start with today and just make things happen and really believe you can do it. That’s the most important thing, is to believe in yourself.

Le’Nise: Thank you so much. Sharon, there are so many, you’ve said so many wise words and there’s a lot for listeners to take away and unpack. Where can listeners find out more about you?

Sharon: Okay. So you find out more about me by my Instagram account @London_artist1 but you can also find out about me through my website, which is londonartist1.com and I have some things coming out, so I have some workshops, I have a workshop in January, another one in February. I’m part of an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in December for Art For Youth and any money raised will go towards a youth arts charity. Young people are very close to my heart because I do youth engagement as well at the museum I work at. So find out more about me via my website and my Instagram account.

Le’Nise: And we’ll put all the links in the show notes. So thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Sharon: Thank you so much for inviting me. Thank you for allowing me to think about my period and my story in a completely different way. Yeah, lots for me to think about as well. Thank you, Le’Nise.

Le’Nise: Thank you.

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