Motherhood journal #10

I wonder what it would be like to live in a body whose sensory-nerve system is less reactive as mine. It might be helpful to keep things more intact and respond more in a calm way to various stimuli. But it is not possible, at least not yet so…..

It is rainy sunday afternoon in Geneve.
Before leaving the house I told my children “Umma is gonna go and have some me-time okay?”
“OKAY” they say without any trace of surprise, resistance, or even curiosity.
It was me who was slightly taken back.
I smiled as I got into the elevator.

The children who are now four and six years old know how important it is for mom to have her alone time whether it is her sitting in her corner desk or stepping out of the house on Sunday afternoon.

They also know that I can not do two things at once.
When I am cooking, I often do not hear them calling me for help.
I heard many times before from the people who are close to me that I should not ignore my children when they call me. We thought one of the main reasons why Hope gets frustrated often is because of my delayed response.

Along the same line I was often criticized for habitually forgetting to put medication on the children’s scar, not packing water when we are out, not asking them to go to the bathroom before leaving the house.

It is inevitable that some things gotta fall through the gaps between the fingers because it is those spaces that are holding me together.

Yesterday night while I was reading a book out loud to the children before bedtime, Hope was making a weird gurgling sound in a low tone. At first I thought she was saying yes to each sentence I uttered. Then it sounded more like a laugh to herself. Obviously she just discovered how her body can produce this effect and was playing. I did not comment on it. But when I woke up today it was the first thing I thought of and started laughing out loud. I heard heard her doing it again today.

Later this month I am turning 39 and I have one thing to look forward to. My friend who is six years older than me told me that as you get older your body does not waste energy by going off the path. I still don’t really have a path that I am following faithfully but perhaps soon my body will just choose one because there just isn’t enough to go around. I have been looking for a job as a art teacher since the beginning of this year  and now I am going to concentrate on writing my thesis and make cards (I will explain in another post) and I am trying to be a calmer person, especially around my children… Happy Sunday!



Humility Curiosity Empathy

From a reading derived to an inbox this morning-which I started by snapping at my people in the kitch, or which I started with frowning at the crumbs on the kitchen floor, or which I started by stuffing dry rice into my belly to get energy to run a vacuum cleaner. What kind of title is “The 3 keys to becoming irresistible”, right? It sounds like your usual key-to-make-money-with-your-blog but today I started a day wrong so I might as well clicked on this and I found something not quite expected. Worth reading the whole article but I want to highlight the author’s definition on Empathy. This is the best definition of this word I have ever heard.

Link to the article_The Three kets to becoming irresistible_by John Gorman_____


This trait is the miracle drug of humanity (and elephants, and dolphins). It is the simplest, sweetest attribute one can possess, and the most worthwhile one worth cultivating for social success. Empathy brings people closer, and makes others feel understood and less alone inside. And if there is one thing we’re all looking to become a little less of, it’s alone. When I see truly empathetic people, I see people who genuinely care, but also people who remind us that sometimes it’s okay to be still with someone else and not invade their space or encroach their boundaries. This unique ability to understand the world through others’ eyes and cut to the heart of what others are feeling and experiencing. Empathy breeds compassion, connection and love. It is an important precursor for honesty.

some thoughts on my life

Elizabeth Gilbert clarifies difference between Hobby Job Career and Vocation.

I only listened once and did not take notes so I am paraphrasing here
Hobby is something you do for pure pleasure, to not make you feel like you are a producing machine. You don’t need to make money from it, you don’t even have to show whatever you make and do to anybody it is just for you. You don’t need to have a hobby.

Job is a job. This is something you must have in order to live in this materialistic world. You don’t need to be passionate about it or love it. It is something you just do and get paid in return.

Career is NOT something you need to have. Career is something you care about and even passionate about. It is something you are willing to pay for with your time and work even when it does not pay you.

Vocation is the thing that your inner voice tells you is the purpose of your life. Something that you need to get out to the world. It is something that you will do anyway regardless of how successful you will become through it in a the world.

SO here is a deal.
I think I was happier when art was my hobby before it became a career. Definitely being an artist was never a job. I am still trying to figure out if it is my vocation.

Then I am starting to think teaching has been my vocation. Somehow I just knew it but I did not pursue it seriously as a career. Is it too late now?

Perhaps there is also intersectionality in one’s vocation –or– is it just me feeling ambivalent?


I gave a painting lesson to children of age 10 yesterday on Color and Wave. They came up with these two images posted here in 45 minutes. I think I have some serious talent for teaching… I never thought that about my art.

Collective Creative Activity

We formed as a collective of women artists because of our common situation/condition. We share similar, if not identical problems of isolation; both from other women artist and the general isolation of artists in a society which is alien to collective creative activity.(Women’s workshop, Artists’ Union, Spare Rib, July 1974, no. 20, p. 38)

Their statement illustrated the double-edged assault of feminism both against the nth of individual creativity which, in practical terms, results in isolation and exploitation for artists, and against the particular experience of women, cut off from each other and from public acknowledgment as artists. Working Collectively is both a reaction against an oppressive condition and a progressive critique of it. (Parker and Pollock, Fifteen years of feminist action: From practical strategies to strategic practices, Framing Feminism: Art and the Women’s movement 1970-1985, Padora, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, London, p3)

NOTE: This series of posts are collections of writings and other sources related to art and critical learning. I am at the moment using this blog space as my personal research journals for 1) a  practical reason: to not lose them amidst my scattered notes everywhere 2) an idealistic reason: perhaps someone else might find them useful….

Teacher KimyiBO

ELAN postcard final all .indd“In this Summer camp we invite the children to imagine a new world through collective art making. They will explore the meaning of the community and ecology though drawing, building, and upcycling.”


Day one. Furniture

Day two. Things with Wheels

Day three. Nature

Day four. House

Day five. Catching up



The best part of my job as an artist-mother is that I have the flexibility to bring my children to my work. On the way to Crayons de Soleil ( a friend’s atelier where the camp took place) Hope would ask me, “Umma, why do we have to go earlier before the children arrive?” I say it is because I want to be there to make sure everything is set up correctly before the children arrive. Then she asks, “We are the children too, then why do we have to go early?”

We had the same conversation every morning we were walking to the atelier. It seemed she found it amusing to get to be in the “backstage” of the classroom. After each class, while my partner and I were cleaning up and preparing for the next day, Hope and Faith found their corners with a picture book on their laps and unwound. Precious.

I want to summarize our five days of adventure by the following pictures.








KimyiBo Art

Calendar 2018

Some of you may know that I am launching a crowd funding campaign for a book about motherhood ambivalence that I am currently working on. Before Christmas, I printed the calendar 2018 using the images from my previous work called Blessings. The twelve images are wearing totally new bright colours, starkly different from the original. They were printed in recycled paper using risograph printing process. The paper I used is thinner than what you would expect calendars to be on. The reason is that I wanted it to be able to hang easily and instantly with a rolled tape on the back or with your favorite washi tape along the top and bottom edges. Let me know what is your favourite way to display a calendar. 🙂  There are 35 copies available, and I apologise that it is really late for a new calendar already~