Emily Lay
Artist/
Painter

Emily Lay

Painter

Bio

A journey where the end is only just the beginning. I am a self-taught artist where I have been relying on YouTube videos to help understand the use of different mediums. I began my art journey on the 20th September 2021 to cope with symptoms of depression due to loneliness. And this is my story. When I lost my beloved dad over 11 years ago, I felt nothing in life was im-portant to me anymore. The Christmas celebrations, milestones, birthdays, all seemed mean-ingless. In order to deal with my grief, a colleague suggested I do yoga. Reluctantly, I signed up to a 30 day challenge, and was quickly in for a shock. I felt as if I couldn't breathe in the hu-mid 40C heat. Similarly, watching my dad take his last breath. I quickly hated everything about this yoga practice but being frugal with money, I completed my 30 days. Perhaps bewitched, I signed up to an annual membership afterwards. During the early days in my practice, I discov-ered I wasn’t alone in my journey of self-healing. I met wonderful people who were trying to cope with PTSD; eating disorders; depression; low self-esteem, for example. It was by listening to these incredible people's stories where I realized how important a #safespace and #safeplace is for people to thrive, without judgement. I thought to myself, "how lucky am I that I could af-ford a yoga membership while many others couldn’t afford to care for their mental and physical wellbeing." Soon after, I set up a humble non-profit yoga studio to help council estates and res-idents within the community, have accessibility to yoga. Over the last eight years, I’ve continued to build communities to support people with their mental health and wellbeing. With a promis-ing new position in a new country and my mental wellbeing on solid foundations, I thought my life was on a trajectory. Over the last few years, the world was gripped by covid. I'm unashamed to say that in the last 12 months, my new home in Hong Kong has been the tipping point for my mental health. I was questioning my worth, my confidence in my work, plummeted; and I no longer valued and believed in what I was doing anymore. I was struggling to understand peo-ple, things and situations. I felt my emotions was spiraling out of control. I looked like an ordi-nary person on the outside, but I was struggling to cope. When I was in the depths of feeling ut-terly alone, I suddenly and perhaps, miraculously, stumbled on an Instagram story that showed a Chinese calligrapher celebrating his work. My senses immediately felt aroused. I became, once again, curious. The next day, I wandered into an artshop and bought myself ink and a paint brush. Have you ever eaten something, which you thought you'll hate but loved the taste? This is how I feel about art. This is how I feel when I pick up a paint brush and create art, for me. Eventhough, I have been building communities to support other people's mental and emotional wellbeing, I always felt alone. It was their safespace, and not mine. Art is and will always be, my safespace where I feel truly connected to who I am. I can be free to express, explore and create, without judgement. I don't even think I'm an artist, but I am so in love with how art has given me a new lease on life when I started believing, "my life is worthless". This painting depicts my journey. I no longer want to save the world. I just hope that if my story can help someone else find their own safespace in whatever they choose to do, then I'm truly grateful I could help someone else. This is all I want. Perhaps, it's just taken me over a decade to realise the merits in what I do isn't about the rewards and titles that are bestowed upon us. It is how we graciously, and with humility, celebrate each other's stories , no matter how different they are to our own.

Artworks