Sonali Menezes

  • Drawing
  • Experimental
  • Film
  • Fine art
  • Illustrations
  • Multimedia
  • New Media
  • Painting
  • Performance Art
  • Photography
  • Poetry
  • Screen Printing
  • Sculpture

My first love is zines. Zines take art out of the white cube and put it directly into the hands of everyday working people. Zines are how I’ve built a community in Hamilton through the mail, free workshops, zine making drops ins, zine club, zine fairs and artcrawls. I make zines about me, that some would sometimes call self deprecating. I write long lists that some would call poems. I also write poems that I would call poems. I draw and screenprint in my zines and most prominently I write about madness and mental illness.

I also make artwork about the body. I often relate this to my body and the ways I experience the world as a south asian, queer, mad and unibrowed woman who views the world from under five feet. Most recently I’ve explored the ways I hold jealousy of white blonde women in my body and the ways I’ve tried to expel that jealousy through cleansing Catholic rituals. I’ve explored body hair and how being downed in thick black hair has been a marker of racial difference for me since childhood. I try to find beauty in body hair, from carefully re-cultivating my unibrow through discrete performance, to exploring the patterning of hair on the body through print and poetry.

I make art because it gives me a sense of purpose in this world. I find living under capitalism to be hollowing, as I’m sure many working people do. Art making is a way that I escape capitalism. I make videos, zines, do discreet performances, printmaking, poetry, and the occasional sculpture. Much of my work is rooted in the ways that I make meaning ‘outside’ of capitalism, or in rejection of the values of capitalism.

I make artwork about food. From my most recent zine celebrating food, survival and madness called ‘Depression Cooking,’ to my video series documenting women eating their favourite foods in their beds called ‘Greasy Dreams.’ Currently I’m working on a video and print series involving my family members focused on mangoes, diaspora and seasonal affective disorder. For me, nourishing the body is how we care for ourselves despite the crushing weight of capitalism. Food is how we gather with friends, family and lovers around kitchen tables, on bar stools and even beneath our bed sheets during a netflix marathon. I am obsessed with food and eat it everyday in celebration.

The concept of care plays into everything I make. From harvesting lavender on the University of Guelph’s campus which I then made into lavender simple syrup to gift to the workers who cultivated the garden, to zines which I try to distribute for free or at cost. I make art as an act of care for myself who is in search of meaning and I make art with the hopes that what I make will resonate and positively impact my kin and community.

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