Roxy Re:Membered (Unifying the parts)

Click on each image to see a larger version of the artwork.

Scroll below for image descriptions and artist’s statement.

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Left Image: Re:Wyrd (Cognizant 7 generations)

Image Description: This painting of the northern lights that use blues, whites, teals, yellow, and greens on a background of dark blackish blue, above an ocean made up of greens, blues and whites with a blue gradient section from the top of the water leading up to a black sky with stars. A skull pencil drawing on offwhite sketchbook paper with torn edges is pasted in the middle foreground of the painting. Left of the skull in the blue gradient section just above the water are seven brains lined up vertically.

Artist Statement:  I couldn’t keep up with the pacing at the BIST paint night event…while everyone was instructed to paint constructs of winter cabins under the Aurora Borealis on the foundation of snow covered land, I seemingly processed slower, felt resistance, and frustration yet I persisted and manifested what I could. Never-minding how ‘behind’ I was… a southeast Asian tropical sea under a European night sky with the same Canadian northern lights appeared to me on my canvas  — the skull ripped out of my sketchbook, and brains tacked on later…

…‘Wyrd’ is an Old English word with linguistic connections to Old Norse/ High German. It is an Anglo-Saxon cultural Concept meaning something akin to, ‘fate or personal destiny/to come to pass/to become’ and developed into an adjective in the 15th century…eventually evolving into the modern English word ‘weird.’ We ALL live ‘wyrd’…I am the ‘ghost in the shell’ invisibly present to the unfolding-enfolding of my life while my brain’s neural networks are ‘taking it in’ and rewiring . Ihis creation represents my  transcultural identity,  transnational awareness, and mindfulness of 7 generations back and forth in this present moment. The waters represent my connection to  the ‘ancient’ and ‘traditional’ depths of my matrilineal origins connected to the Global South (Southern Philippines Archipelago). The  Northern Lights represent the ‘cosmos of the new world;’ the Global North (Canada) with spirits not forgotten floating in the dark sky. The middle sky represents the midpoint of the ‘classical’ ‘old world;’ Europe (Germany). The pile of stacked brains rooted to the water simultaneously represents my inherited ancestral knowledge with corresponding intergenerational trauma. I am the future realization of my ancestral line. In the foreground I am present in the intelligence of my bones, regardless of my  brain – I carry my ancestry always connected to the unfolding of fate.

Middle Image: Re:Checking In (How Are you?)

Image Description:

There are six separate hand drawn images presented in two rows and three columns; the top left image has 3 hand drawn yellow  thunder bolts with handwritten black text inside each of them. Written inside the largest central thunderbolt is, “FEEL this, I hear you…NOT listening to me.” Slightly below each side of the larger thunderbolt, are  the smaller yellow thunderbolts with one word written inside each of them. Inside the bolt to the left is written, “social” and inside the bolt to the right is written, “relations.” Above these thunderbolts is an eye  with a tiny brain sticker afficexed inside the pupil, with the words “I see you, observing me” repeatedly circling around the eye. The background is a gradient of blue shades with several hand drawn blue octopi with orange coloured brain stickers posted to their heads.

The top middle hand drawn line image is of  a multi-coloured octopus of blue, green, purple, orange-red, and pink.There are tree small drawn hearts on its chest with a tiny brain sticker in the middle heart, and tiny brain stickers all along it’s body. The background is yellow with curse words written in orange-red. Tiny stopwatch stickers surround the octopus like it is in a box.

The top right hand drawn picture is a multi-coloured octopus of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink with brown sunglasses. The words written above the octopus head are ‘Life’ in the colour green, and words written in red are , Race, Ability, Gender, Economic Statuses. The words written on the octopus’s head are ABI, Liminal, Transition, Invisible. The words ‘culture’ and ‘world’ are written on the lenses of the sunglasses. Other words written around the octopus are attune, attend, orient, and solutions. The word ‘needs’ is boldly written on the bottom left, and the word “Barriers’ is boldly written backwards on the right bottom side.

The bottom left hand drawing is a female face colored tan brown with her eyes closed. In her dark gray hair the words ability, dis, non-apparent, and hidden are imbedded, written repeatedly in black. The face has a yellow thunder bolt sticker on her forehead, with a red and green double line across and little brain stickers inside so it looks like a headband. Slightly above the middle point between her eyebrows is a little brain sticker.  Below the chin of the face is a dark brown feces emoji with the word “talk” written in black on it and subtle brown lines rising from it.

The bottom middle image is a drawing of a colourful butterfly of  blue, orange, green pink, yellow, and black with a blanded background pastel greens and yellows. Written on the body are the words ABI and Growth with a little drawn heart in the centre of the body with a tiny brain inside it. There are words written in different directions in the background include, “ outspoken, un seen, remember,shelter, hide, cannot, forget, breathe, in, out, hidden, truths, safer, home, house, hide, Me? Can you see?” among others.

The  bottom right image is of a hand drawn female coloured shades of blue with her eyes closed, and rainbow coloured hair. There is a small yellow thunder bolt sticker in the middle of her forehead, on her bottom lip is a a tiny brain sticker, in the daark part between her lips are the barely discernible letter, “ABI,” on the top of her shrugged shoulder is a small crain sticker coloured blue, under her chin on her chest is another brain sticker colored in yellowish-pink, the yellow background consists of numerous stickers of antique pocketwatches with the  numbers 1-10 written alongside them and the words, a.m., p.m, and Go repeatedly written.

Artist Statement:

“According to marine biologist, Katherine Hannibal, ‘most of an octopus’s neurons are in their arms. While they do have one central brain, it is like having 8 little independent brains in each of their arms. This neural network turns their entire body into a web of understanding & feeling. This means that an octopus is highly connected to the world around it. It’s always exploring and taking in information that helps it to adapt and thrive. Important to also note is that octopi find time to play and make sure they don’t run out of energy” -@evolvedbynature

(top right): ‘Doing the best that I can, all things considering’

In the too-fast merry-go-round of everyday egoic life that is simultaneously a tornado all too ready to sweep away the ‘trash’ and a toilet drain ready to eliminate and flush away the ‘discarded’ to ensure ’civilized’‘cleanliness’, I  hold centre and fight the forces with gusto to rise within as high as I can while doing my best to stay safe and keep an eye out for kindred others….it’s easy to miss them in this ocean of  hurricane hustle life of  hunger games.  Others miss and dismiss them because they (the blue octopi) have no image and  blend in like nothing special…just like me… seemingly invisible in this Western Ocean. It is true, my discernment powers got carried away, but the winds brought them back around, while my resolve remained centre keeping an eye out looking for connection and community.  I NEED ceremony with the collective and the rituals with the surviving like-minded spirit warriors who are beating all odds, still ‘fighting the good fight,’ and just ‘get it.’ My heart, stronger than thunder, NEEDS  the practices of the ‘old ways’ in ‘circle’ that the whirlwind  matrix destroyed.  The MEDICINE I need is a sense of belonging, ease, and safety that can truly only be found in connection with them, (the blue ocotpi) laughing, sharing our heart-songs, stories, invisible battle scars, tools, and strategies that allowed us to find our way through the battle of our lives to survive, and ‘be here now’ to celebrate our wins.

(top middle). “Time is Money” (feminine flow burning)

I do NOT consent to this!!!! invisible systems of oppression surround me with clinical paternal intentions to ‘fix’, and condition us into good  little females  for polite Western Eurocentric colonial status quo. Behavioural corrections, emotional regulations, and typical standardized socialization into the normative modus operandi is fishy to me…something is in the water…I’m swimming in the universal elements of it; I flow up against the subtle silent violences in the burning daylight of father sky’s sun rays hurting my eyes, head, and brain.…. So, I keep flowing feminine on mother earth mustering as much slow ease as I can while emanating love, and light from my heart space to alchemicalize the pain and regain my sovereignty. I am NOT stupid…I am flowing with the intelligence in my body!

(top right): “Loaded” – LIFE RAGES CULTURE (systems of oppression)

Vulnerable like an Octopus with no exoshell; my softness is nakedly exposed, senses heightened, and I’m swimming through the sharp painful words teaching me of deficits, limitation, and symptoms swirling around me like shark’s teeth threatening to bite at the ‘RAGES’ (Race, Ability, Gender, and Economic Status)… my labels are for dinner. MERCY (my hands are up)! I see the BARRIERS through my (social) lenses, while others are looking at me from their perspectives and (social) locations. They have the power to assume, speak, and determine my NEEDS.  While I’m left responding like a mood ring to Western shadows. Unlike the hidden chameleon I used to be, I cannot safely hide my colours as I  encounter these colonial socials. My cries are noise in the ears well trained to filter…. protected brains stay comfortable.

(bottom left) – ‘Hidden Ability–TALKING–dis.non-apparent’

Thunderbolt pain and third eye neurons open, I bear the brain tension like a superhero serenely taking it all in. What!?!? I HEARD that!!! I GOT that!!!! I did NOT miss that!!!! Clearly you read books and have data…BRAVO….!!! Pathology, pathology, PATHOLOGY…pathology!?!. BREATHE.

(bottom middle) – ‘ABI Butterfly Effect’

 Do you notice the brain in my heart (close up)?  like wings fluttering, the communications from my lips are continually  flowing invisible into the air…are YOU paying attention to the space between us? Can you SEE? I invite you to lean in for the details of me and notice my words. Now, what would be the impact of that?

(bottom right) ‘My Colour is Mixed Liminal Invisible’

Do you notice the details… the letters ‘ABI’ invisible in my mouth… brain on the lips… brain on my shoulder like a chip… neurons in the heart space. The neuron network transmits intelligence….powered by the heart… I am so mixed: ancestrally, culturally, racially, spiritually…this is my mood in time/space. Time Pressure amplifying….squeezing….forcing resiliency…pushing for diamond clarity?

‘Re:Movement (The People)’

Image Description: There are hand drawn simple line portraits of six different faces using black and white chalk. The written statement at the top of the picture is “It Could Happen To You Too” with  brain stickers beside and in between the words and tiny stopwatch stickers below the statement posted side-by-side like an underline . On the bottom right and left the word ABI is repeatedly written as in bold with brain stickers again posted beside and in between the words.

Artist Statement: ‘Movement’ = 1. Change or development, 2. Act of changing physical location, or position or having this changed (think social location and housing).  If your brain or the brain of someone you love ever becomes injured, and disability is at your doorstep because death decided not to stay, what will you do? How will you manage with no income? ABI and Anti-ableism Awareness is needed because if people do not know, the perceivers of brain injury remain unaware and symptoms get dismissed or ‘masked’, resulting in hardships being left unaddressed, and individuals and families impacted by continual suffering, disconnection, isolation, pain, and despair. A shift in collective awareness, knowledge, and values begins with the movements of the people. Do not wait until it happens to you or someone you love to gain understanding. ABI disability can happen to anyone and everyone. Get AWARE, ADVOCATE, and SPREAD the word! Make it PERSON-ALL! The time for CHANGE is NOW!

Artist Biography

  • Roxy is Southeast Asian-European-North American (meaning her German-Venezuelan Father and Filipino-Chinese Mother immigrated to North America and she and her siblings were born in Ontario, Canada).

  • 16 years ago she sustained a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)  due to a car accident, and 1.5 yrs before the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdowns she survived a complex Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) involving two neurosurgeries resulting in a large sized Titanium Prosthesis in her skull-flap.

  • Roxy now lives with  neuro-functional differences and non-apparent (hidden/invisible) disabilities due to encephalomalacia (softening of the brain tissue due to hemorrhage or inflammation, which is an indicator of one of the most serious types of brain injury).

  • Post 2018 ABI challenges and impairments include heightened sensory sensitivity, left homonymous Hemianopsia (left periphery blindness in both eyes), chronic Tension Headaches/Migraines/TMJ Head Pain, severe sleep disturbances of initial onset and mid insomnia, musculoskeletal Pain syndromes, chronic physical fatigue, severe neurofatigue, Cognitive-Communication Challenges, auditory processing challenges, ADHD, and GAD with traits of PTSD (she prefers the term Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries as it indicates the possibility for healing).

  • Roxy has been a BIST member since 2019 and since 2020 she has been active in BIST’s Advocacy Committee and most recently with BIST’s new IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Accessibility) Council.

  • Roxy is passionate about sharing intercultural education to foster belonging, peace, and unity across cultural differences. She continually spreads awareness about the Culture-Cognition Connection, decolonization, and the intersections of Acquired Brain Injury, Gender-based vulnerabilities, and racial trauma. She advocates for the Neurodiversity Paradigm, Accessibility, inclusion of Mad Positive Trauma Responsive Approaches in mental health, and ABI non-apparent (Hidden/Invisible) (dis)Abilities.

  • To learn more about Roxy’s experiences with ABI, Precarious Housing (Hidden Homelessness), & BIST,  listen to ep.6 of the “Injury is not Equal” Podcast produced by Sunnybrook Hospital in April 2021. (

  • Roxy’s Linkedin: