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your brain is a bedroom

First, find yourself a comfortable place to relax and close your eyes. Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a moment, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. As you relax, try to focus on easing the tension in your body. Feel it leaving as you breathe out. Now, try to allow yourself to imagine a safe space. What is it like? What is the first location that comes to your mind? Maybe it’s a quiet field or a room full of kittens. As you meditate, you can envision and move through it. This can be a little challenging at first, but once you perfect it, going to your safe space can become a calming routine. No one can enter without your permission. This is where you can feel protected. As you come back, you can perfect it to your taste and allow it to shape as you see fit. Picture the tiniest details. What can you hear? How do all the different textures feel? Do you notice any smells? Allow yourself to relax as you breathe in and out. Remember that you can leave any time. You are in control.

A mental safe space or mind sanctuary is a cerebral location that you envision to boost your meditation or to reduce stress. Generally, the term safe space refers to a space created for marginalized people to come together and share their experiences with oppression. It can also indicate that the space has zero tolerance for violence, hate speech and harassment.

“Your brain is a bedroom” is a project that explores the idea of a safe space. This space was first created in 2020 when, in the middle of the pandemic, the artist Maria Izabella Lehtsaar started questioning the safety of one’s home. How does one cope in an unsafe environment and how to make it as secure as possible? Lehtsaar found we can mostly create it through online spaces and the mental safe space exercise. In that sense, we can consider the closet metaphor a notional space to keep one’s identity hidden for safety reasons because of social condemnation. In this version of a safe space, you can relax and play dress up.

Maria Izabella Lehtsaar is an artist based in Tallinn, who works primarily with queer experience and mental health topics, often playing with the fine line between reality and fantasy. Their works and motifs are at times modest, loud and captivating. In their work they blend pop culture aesthetics and sensitive black-and-white graphics, combining them in practice with textiles, drawing and text.

Lehtsaar is currently studying for a Master's degree in contemporary art at the Estonian Academy of Arts, and has graduated with a bachelor's degree in printmaking in 2020. Their recent exhibitions include the The Youth Exhibition of 18th Tallinn Print Triennial "SLOW MANOEUVRES", 2022 (EKKM, curated by Riin Maide and Brit Kikas) and "Resemblance Through Contact. Grammar of Imprint", 2020 (Tartu Art House and EKA Gallery, curated by Liina Siib and Maria Erikson). Lehtsaar was awarded the Edmund Valtman Fund scholarship of 2021.

Drag the items slowly on to the body drag the items

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by Maria Izabella Lehtsaar