Lydia Emily will annihilate whatever excuse you can dish out that is preventing you from pursuing what you love. The cancer surviving, single mother of two has created an entire collection of art work for her new exhibition, Bound, at the Garboushian Gallery in Beverly Hills all while contending with Multiple Sclerosis. Despite her own health problems, Lydia delivered bold and touching pieces full of life. The opening of her show was packed with fans, some sporting braids and bandanas, an ode to the artist’s preferred hair style.

Known for captivating work that is politically charged, socially conscious, with a focus on those oppressed by a system, Lydia slightly shifted her focus in her new exhibition. In Bound, you see her continue to expose the human struggle, but instead apply it to the internal battle people fight on a daily basis. Her personal portraits feature people bound in different ways by their vices, addictions, health, and beliefs. Painting exclusively on the Sunday Edition of The New York Times (her signature element and a nod to growing up surrounded by the newspaper) and using models that she knows, the pieces are personal and powerful. With people’s inner struggles lay bare, her work forces viewers to reflect on their own shortcomings. The most compelling piece is her self-portrait. She incorporates her own struggle, in a painting of her naked body hung by her exposed spine, representing her fight with MS. A mighty hook’s metal rips into her delicate skin grabbing at her spine. If you know Lydia, it shows her in a way you rarely have seen her-vulnerable.

– written by Keisha Raines with pictures by Birdman Photos

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