Marisa Companion explores chronic illness, mental health and gender tropes. Hypersensium is presenting Marisa in the context of mental resilience through creativity and empathy in the art communities.

Do you remember the moment you realised you had to express your challenges visually? Did you feel comfortable expressing your vulnerability?

I remember this moment. In the beginning I was recording photographs of my health crisis. I knew I needed to do something more to convey the experience I was having. That is when painting seemed to make the most sense. There was a 4-year gap of just trying to survive my health crisis before I was able to paint. The photos allowed me to capture until that moment. I feel comfortable about expressing my vulnerability. I know that sounds weird coming from a culture that emphasises showing your “best self”. Im not really interested in that with my work. The work is a love letter to everyone who has felt very vulnerable and like an outsider.

The “IM. MORTAL” paintings are almost a tribute to the strength of the community of people with chronic illness. Such an important way of social activism, in our opinion. Do you feel there is enough support in the artistic community when it comes to health?

Depends. In the art world as a whole absolutely not. In the small communities and organisations, I believe it is starting to be. Artists and creators are beginning to place the importance of supporting underrepresented people. I still think it is going to be a while before we see this on a grand scale, but movements like Black Lives Mater are an integral part of this.