In psychology, compartmentalization refers to the subconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs etc. within themselves. It is how the human minds deal with conflicting internal standpoints simultaneously, either by filing away trauma, negative thoughts and feelings to function – tucked away on a back shelf of the mind to either be dealt with in the future, to be forgotten or to be stirred up when something reminds the person that they are there. Rather than dealing with them head-on, or coming to terms with them and accepting them, these problems are instead shelved away in a metaphorical file cabinet somewhere in the back of our minds. When not managed carefully, it can cause conflicts with one’s personal relationships and responsibilities. But while it has a negative connotation, it also serves a purpose that is beneficial. It can be said that it is really not about being in denial; to put in someone else’s words, it is “about putting things where they belong” and not let them get in the way of one’s life for the time being. It is not necessarily bad, but simply an evolutionary mechanism that has allowed people to cope.

Inspired by this concept, the show “Spring Cleaning” explores the idea of compartmentalization in relation to personal experiences and the experiences of the people around her. With the current events which have been very overwhelming to most, compartmentalization has been the chosen method of some people to deal with these issues and problems, regardless of how they make use of it, either as a temporary respite from their current problems, or as a complete escape from them. For myself, it has been a way to help me reorganize my thoughts and emotions, helping me gain a better and clearer perspective afterwards. In a way, it might also be said that it is way to take control, finding order and assurance amidst the chaos.

L to R: “Safekeeping III“, “Safekeeping II”, and “Safekeeping I”, watercolor on paper, 18.40″ x 22.70″(framed), 2021;
“Archives I, II, III, IV & V”, watercolor on paper on kindry wood vessel, 4.5″ x 2.80″ each drawer (set of 4 pcs), 2021

L to R: “Falling Into Place I” & “Falling Into Place II”, watercolor on paper, 24″ x 36″ (framed), 2021

“Safekeeping III“, watercolor on paper, 18.40” x 22.70″(framed), 2021;

“Archives I, II, III, IV & V”, watercolor on paper on kindry wood vessel, 4.5″ x 2.80″ each drawer (set of 4 pcs), 2021

The show ran from October 2, 2021 until October 14, 2021 at White Walls Gallery in Makati City, Philippines.