Portrait of figure staring out of picture kissing a rose

Peem's story

The story may contain themes of a sensitive nature. See our guidance on viewing the exhibition.

Peem’s main trauma stemmed from societal beauty standards in Thailand. Living in a culture with demanding ideals of appearance took its toll on her self-esteem and mental well-being. Negative comments from peers about body image and racial stereotypes during childhood and adolescence lead to feelings of inadequacy, and then to anorexia, culminating in emergency treatment in hospital.

Admission to hospital was a turning point. She started to think:

I can't live like this anymore so I tried to eat more healthier and moderately exercise.

As she grew up her appearance changed and the way people treated her changed dramatically as well. She realised that many people in Thailand only treat the people well who fit the beauty standard. The shallowness of this disappointed her, but her earlier bullying left its scars:

I'm really afraid of being rejected again. I don't want to be neglected again. I need to be loved.

Peem’s sexual orientation was also something that was seen as unusual and deemed unacceptable within Thai culture.

Peem had some talking therapy in Thailand, but there is still a perception amongst people of her parent’s generation that seeking help was seen as a sign of weakness. 

Peem first met Andy after a seminar he was involved in about trauma. They discussed one of Andy’s paintings “Twisted Rose”. The painting had been inspired by the line “I feel like a twisted rose, growing out of the dark into the light, but still carrying the scars of the past”.

Peem said that despite what had happened to her, she now felt ready to show herself, to show her emotional scars, telling Andy that:

Everything that's happened to you is part of you.
The painting of Peem references: the Twisted Rose, themes of beauty and transience, and of embracing the universe. The photograph and background imagery are inspired by Peem’s own artwork. The painting's subtext is the importance of breaking free from external judgments and the journey toward self-discovery and self-acceptance.


Peem’s own art is being shown alongside the exhibition of Andy’s paintings. 



Click or tap to see another painting.


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