BY RILEY FANNING
This past Friday, a live performance art event took place on campus in correspondence with Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Salisbury University junior Martina Desire’e Maya-Callen organized and starred in the event. She stood in front of the Academic Commons wearing a nude body suit next to a sculpture she had created.
The sculpture she constructed was an 8.5 foot tall white closet, which one could enter inside to view art depicting the mindset of someone who has an eating disorder. Inside of the unassuming closet, the walls and ceiling were completely blacked out and covered in ripped magazine pages, measurement tapes, and weight scales with disparaging self-descriptive words.
“My main goal for this piece was to spread awareness for the issue and let people know they are good enough, worthy and beautiful,” Maya-Callen said.
She kicked off the event by removing her clothes to reveal her nude bodysuit, and then used black sharpie to write hateful words on her own body such as “ugly” and “fat” to signify the way she had viewed herself in the past. Then she addressed those who had gathered around her with a speech on societal views about body image and how they were harmful.
“What a crazy idea, to be happy with yourself just the way you are!” she called out to the crowd.
Markers were available to the public so they could write messages of positivity on either the closet, or on Martina herself. Many students came up to participate, while others watched on in the crowd or from within the Academic Commons.
Maya-Callen’s live performance lasted from 11:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m., and her sculpture stayed up for the remainder of the day, available to students who wanted to write or draw their thoughts on it.
“I really loved the piece because it was very daring to do in front of everyone in such a public place,” said student Elena Taylor. “She talked about things a lot of people tried to hide and ignore and she put it out there for everyone to try to understand.”
The project was done as a personal piece as opposed to a class assignment, and took Maya- Callen over a month to plan, and 10 full days to build the structure. Maya-Callen discussed her reasoning for creating the artwork and performance.
“Over even the last two months I have grown in my confidence, self-love and body acceptance. I was completely nervous when this idea came to my mind. But, I realized through my public vulnerability I would be gaining my own strength and hopefully spreading it to others as well.”