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Spotlight on Pollyanna Dee: Embracing Emotion Through Art

In Pollyanna Dee’s artwork ‘Daydream,’ she crafts a divided visage, where lush white and blue blooms erupt from the crevices of a woman’s face. Cradled by consoling hands on one side, the other seems to retreat from the external tumult. Her eyes, alight with somber depth, reflect the echoes of her slightly parted lips. For Dee, who intimately understands the world of sentiments, art serves as the vessel for unspoken emotions. “Art for me is a channel to express my inner feelings, the landscapes of my mind. When words fall short, my art speaks, embracing vulnerability as it sculpts our humanity and cultivates courage—the very essence that makes us complete,” she confides in a conversation with Our Culture.

With a degree in Visual Communication from the University of the Philippines, Pollyanna Dee, situated in Manila, crafts her signature style with a blend of abstract and surreal elements, weaving together fluid lines, disfigured silhouettes, and a mosaic of colors. Her artistic ventures often see her wielding charcoal, ink, and mixed media, though she has recently explored the limitless horizons of digital art. “The digital canvas opens up new avenues to enhance texture, composition, and color, all in service of storytelling,” she asserts.

Emotion serves as the backbone of Dee’s artistic lexicon. Her pieces sometimes feature tears or contort faces to express turmoil or disarray. Regardless of the mood that courses through her work, she sees each piece as a pictorial journal, telling stories not with words but with personal insights, life’s truths, and contemplative thoughts. “I draw inspiration from the fortitude discovered in my most raw and exposed moments, seeking self-acceptance in the process,” she reflects.

Shonna Waters, the Vice President of Alliance Solutions at BetterUp, emphasizes self-acceptance as a cornerstone for realizing one’s fullest potential. In her writing, she discusses how people who embrace themselves, flaws and all, can better withstand criticism and pursue continuous improvement. “Self-acceptance means recognizing all aspects of your personality unconditionally, whether they’re seen as positive or negative traits, and embracing both your physical and mental attributes,” she notes.

For Dee, her artistic pilgrimage is intertwined with themes of female empowerment and psychological wellbeing. As she combats her personal demons of anxiety and depression, she champions the values of acknowledging emotions and the significance of mental health. “My creations aim to honor our inner battles and the cathartic release of our emotions with honesty and valor. They signify the struggle and beauty in vulnerability and encourage self-love without remorse. Therein lies our empowering truth,” she articulates.

In ‘Headspace,’ a piece that may serve as the artist’s self-portrayal, a woman’s countenance ascends, mingled with ethereal wisps of smoke. Through slits in her bifurcated cranium, curious eyes search for solace, for connection, for resurgence amid the entangled backdrop. A yellow moon casts its glow, spotlighting a delicate ballet dancer navigating the bridge of her nose, symbolizing a climb toward a spiritual awakening, which Dee affirms. “It’s reflective of the solitude, of battling the waves of loneliness while standing firm through our personal struggles, and still harboring hope for brighter days to come,” she elucidates.

In ‘Breathe,’ we witness a battle worn yet triumphant woman with her head held high. Her epidermis and hair intertwine with a cascade of tears, and a dark smudge across her mouth prevents the free flow of breath. “This piece is about the liberation found in the unburdening of pent-up emotions, reminding us that our strength lies in both our luminous and shadowed moments,” Dee shares.

The narrative ascends in ‘Rise’ where tranquility dawns. Here, the woman depicted soars, baring scars amidst the backdrop of flora, marbled patterns, and the stark reds and whites painting her body, as if the pains etched upon her and blooming flowers from her lips were testaments to survival. “Inspired by the notion that quiet strength is still strength, this piece serves as a reminder to treasure our fragility and recognize that our silent, less hurried moments are equally robust,” she conveys.

Pollyanna Dee wields her artistry as a bridge to self-acceptance, letting each emotion shape the canvas. With her characters shrouded in mist and florals as a badge of valor, she stands as a beacon of courage against tragedy, advocating for the embracing of one’s true emotional core, and invites her audience to embark on the same journey of enlightenment.

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