Starfish Person and Starfish People 2021

These series, Starfish Person and Starfish People, provide a view of the human body focused on the relationship between the gut at the centre and the emotions.

The more conventional perception is that everything comes from the consciousness of the brain, but this is connected directly to the enteric nervous centre in the gut through the vagus nerve, and I am questioning from my own experience whether subconscious feelings emerge the gut to produce the more dominant, primeval and guttural of human emotions. Maybe we should listen to our gut feelings more?

It makes me think of a starfish that feels everything through its central ring of nerves with sensations going backwards and forwards along its tentacles. A starfish does not have control over its actions; it has to obey whatever is the dominant force affecting the senses of any one arm at that moment. It prompts the question of whether we are programmed to obey our gut instincts. Do our own guttural instincts can take control of our emotions, overriding the more rational human brain in our head?

A starfish has a decentralised nervous system that gives it the ability to regenerate itself if it loses a limb, or even to recreate itself from a single arm or even a part of an arm. As humans we can only regenerate ourselves metaphorically, though self-re-examination. It was from these thoughts that I created my starfish people and person series which express my experience of living inside my human body.

Sometimes I feel like a starfish, and it can be limiting and liberating at the same time.