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Erica Amdal: spirituality and body-positivity

Art by Erica Amdal

Erica Amdal
Crystal Phallus, 2022
Acrylic Painting 

Senior Erica Amdal is from Winnebago, Ill., majoring in anthropology and art, with a minor in graphic design.

Artist statement

Erica Amdal

Through the turmoil of the pandemic beginning in 2020, a spirituality movement intertwined with the continuously growing social media community. As the spirituality movement projected the comfort and self-soothing needed in a time of isolation, enthusiasts advocated the acceptance of a higher-self. The ideal of a higher-self insinuates that through deep self-observation and mindfulness, one’s existence and peace will extend outside of the physical world which we inhabit.

With the connotations of higher-self floating around, an enticing irony between the spirituality movement and the body-positivity movement unfolded at the forefront of social media. The dichotomy of an individual being more than their physical form, while simultaneously having to appreciate and love their physical form, inspired my tongue-in-cheek interpretation of one’s body as an insignificant meat-suit.

As our communities spend more time online, on our phones, isolated even more so post quarantine, social media expands as a means of comfort. In one scrolling session we can view clothing or crystal hauls, meditation or self-love advice, which expose us to other's active lives and coping mechanisms. This exposure provokes reflection into how both body-positivity and spirituality have intertwined into mantras of personal growth. Spirituality projects growth beyond the physical world. Body positivity projects growth within the life and body we were born into. Maybe we are more than our flesh and bones, but for now we are all stuck with our meat-suits.