In my work I explore the ever changing states of the individual. Through introspection and the delving into the unconscious and the psyche one can gain a more thorough understanding of the self and through this gain a more profound sense of humanity as a whole.

If one can honestly face oneself and one’s psyche one can come to learn the potentiality of dark and light that exists in all of us. Once one comes to face their own shadows one has much more control over them and can thus begin to consciously choose one’s own way in life, rather than being controlled by unconscious motives. To Jung the psyche is both the mother of civilization and its destroyer. We have the responsibility to choose. [1]

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” 
- Carl G. Jung, ‘The Philosophical Tree’.

This type of introspection is not a selfish pursuit, through inner understanding one becomes much more capable of comprehending the actions and motives of others. With so much tension and fragmentation between and within nations, as well as within the individual, it has become all the more vital that we endeavor to understand and listen to ourselves and each other.

‘Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that defenses of peace must be constructed.’

Preamble to UNESCO’s constitution.

Art can be a powerful mechanism to explore and communicate these ideas. We can explore through art our emotions, our minds workings as well as having conversations on society at large. Through this means we can begin to communicate with others, to ‘build more bridges’ allowing people access into our inner workings and thus begin to break down down barriers that keep us apart.

Psychiatrist and author Dan Siegel presents a form of meditation where we first become aware of all our senses, then the interior of our bodies, our emotions and mental activities, then awareness of our consciousness and then of our interconnectedness with others and the environment. I am interested in this form of connecting to self as a means to connect with others more deeply. This heightens us from personal consciousness through to a heightened expansive consciousness.[2]

Art as a mechanism that employs metaphor, symbolism, abstraction and emotion also offers another way of encountering the world. Not restricted to mere logic and common sense it presents an opportunity to engage the senses, intuition and emotion.

It allows for engagement of the right hand side of the brain, a side that is often neglected in society at present. Neuroscientist and psychotherapist Dr. Allan Shore speaks of the importance of the right brain functions which he feels are undervalued. Conscious expectation must be left behind in order to try and intuitively and empathically become aware of what the other person is saying. Reik says we must abandon ‘rigidly rational consciousness’ and ‘abandon yourself’ to hear the other person and try to comprehend what is being said underneath just words.[3]

Currently there is a prevalence in society for value of external achievement and validation over the internal. Compassion and empathy are qualities that are needed to make positive moves forward for all of society and they spring from the ability of connecting one’s inner self with others.

I am hoping in my work to explore this relationship between the inner and outer worlds of the individual. How reaching inwards can help us to extend ourselves outwards and connect with people on a deeper level and find a common unity between us all.

I have begun compiling some of my research in this area into a collaborative mind map where I am inviting people to contribute. The title ‘We Are All Connected By Invisible Strings’ is hoped to evoke a sense of a deeper underlying connection between us all.


If anyone would like to contribute to the mind map I can add you via email. Look forward to working with you all!

These photographs are some starting points for exploring these ideas.

[1] Radmila Moacanin, ‘The Essence of Jung’s Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism, Western and Eastern Paths the Heart’.


[3] https://www.psychotherapy.net/interview/allan-schore-neuroscience-psychotherapy


  1. Ashok Vish | 10.20.2017

    Hello Kate. I really enjoyed reading your post and look forward to the way you will develop this further. I believe ideas and thoughts relating to connecting our inner self with our external reality are such deep philosophical concepts that translating them into art seem like a daunting task. So reading about your “invisible strings” project and especially your hopeful group performances and projects directly involving the public sound like very exciting and important endeavors in realizing your own artistic interests along with being extremely topical and political (in its own regard). I know some others have already expressed these sentiments already in their own words. I just wanted to reiterate them again. 🙂

    • Kate Mcelroy | 10.22.2017

      HI Ashok! Thanks for your response! Yes it is can be a slightly daunting especially as it is rather an intangible topic. Though I think that partly drives me, how do I try and create a visual represention of something not really visible or graspable. Many thanks for your response it really encouraging to know others relate and deem it important too 🙂

  2. Grazia | 10.14.2017

    Thank you for your post. I really enjoyed your map!
    What you say is very meaningful, and important. Let us know more about your research into these issues. What are, in your view, the invisible strings that are connecting us all? How can we become aware of them, develop them, make them stronger? As you say, art can play a strong role in connecting us with our inner life. How about connecting us to others?

    • Kate Mcelroy | 10.15.2017

      Hi Grazia, thank you for for your feedback! This is what I am trying to explore more in this project. Through connection to the self and through the process of awareness does this lead to stronger connection to others. I hope to explore methods of connecting to self and then to consciously focus on aspects such as empathy and kindness to connect more deeply to others. I think we are connected in terms of energy for instance the mood we are in effects the people around us, also the way we behave people subconsciously can integrate this as well and in that our actions have consequences for others. Also the environment around us, it feeds us and provides us with all the elements that can both protect and destroy us. Yet we often act as if it is something to be conquered as opposed to something we have a symbiotic and connecting relationship to. In many places we are becoming more and more separate from it as we abide in big cities and the sources of our water and food are further removed from us. I am hoping to use the strings as a visual to evoke this feeling of connection to others and the environment.

      I am also trying to think of ways to connect it more directly to people. Group performance, inviting people to be part of the process in some part of the project, inviting people to contribute to the mind map, having art in public, participatory pieces.. all ideas I am playing with. However on a whole, I think art can connect us by giving us insight into other lives, like reading a novel, you can get to experience in a way other peoples thoughts, feelings etc.. Or by posing questions to us that we hadn’t considered before can open up new potentialities for connection.

      • Grazia | 10.27.2017

        Thank you for your reply, Kate, and sorry for the delay! You did reply to my question!
        I like your idea of using strings as visual symbols of connections. I think that if people are reminded that we are all connected, people might start to really believe it.
        Your example of reading novels (or looking at paintings, I would add) as a way to understand other people’s thoughts, desires, inner impulses, as well as other times and other circumstances, is also very good.
        Working on these themes as an artist must be rewarding…

  3. Nathi Khumalo | 10.13.2017

    I think you have raised very important points regard self and understanding self from a perspective of another, as artist we are in constant search on combining our unconscious and conscious minds, i have in many occasion tired to explore the Surrealist art from which deals a lot with adjusting peoples Psych and way of think.

    I find your observation very interesting on how art employees the left side of our brain, were is right is the more prevalent and accepted side in our society.

    • Kate Mcelroy | 10.15.2017

      Hi Nathi! Thanks for the response! Yes as artists we are quite lucky that we have become aware of the importance and potential benefits of trying to access areas of the subconscious. I feel it would be a very beneficial thing for everyone to try and understand more after all it plays such an important role in how we live our lives. Before coming to Nepal I did a drawing straight away when I woke up in the morning when I was in a semi awake state and they were often influenced by dreams I just remembered. They were quite insightful for me. Have you tried any of the surrealist methods yourself?

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