Multidisciplinary artist Najja Moon has released her first book, titled Finding Out You Are Whole. But for her, the project is more than just a publication. The printed collection was a way for her to step back from her usual style of work, collaborating with others, and identify her newfound sense of self.
"Operating in the space of collaboration has allowed me not to address the things I could probably work on," Moon explains. However, she completed this entire project herself. "With this book and me doing everything, it's kind of been like me staring at myself all the time and being like, I do need to work on this, I do need to work on being more vulnerable with myself and other people and being honest with myself," Moon said.
The 52-page book is a series of linear and abstract drawings accompanied by slices of a manuscript with lines like "Now That You've Seen Me, How Do You Feel?" and "When I cry, I'm not inside myself." The pages are also separated by chapters with titles such as "To: The woman God intended for me" and "my little gay dream."
Moon said the drawings come first and then the text follows. A line like "Thank You For Leaving Things Where They Are; And Taking Care Of What I Unpack," for example, is meant to evoke gratefulness.
"It was me realizing how many things I encapsulate in my life and how I compartmentalize different pieces of myself and how much gratitude I feel when I'm able to unpack some of those compartments and give them to somebody to take care of them," Moon explains.
The book also shares images of Moon working on the project as well as quotes from local artists and admirers who have read the book and shared their thoughts on it. Even though the book's style is untraditional, focusing more on images and less on words, Moon wants readers to interact with the work the way they would any other piece of art.
"I hope some of them are like Wow, I've felt like that before, or [that they] can go back to this as a source of solidarity with somebody."
She said the drawings are a way for her to connect with the world when words don't do emotion justice.
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"There is so much infused
Moon says she's excited to see how people receive the book. When she began the project, she says, she was questioning everything about herself and hoped creating it would give her confidence in who she is. Now that the book is out in the world, she wants to continue healing and opening up to herself and others.
"It's been a journey," she says.
Finding Out You Are Whole costs $25 via gypsysocialite.com.