This body of works investigates stages of girlhood through to womanhood, and what each of these moments of rebirth might look like from a personal perspective. Each of these moments are driven by periods of flux labeled as the ‘space between’ and the difficult transition between girlhood and womanhood when battling with what is expected and what is desired. Each period of time looks just as chaotic as the next as these formative moments ultimately shape who we are and who we will become. By reviewing reiterations of myself throughout my life, I re-engage with the changes I underwent and the challenges that come with personal growth. This collection of work creates a space where viewers can project their own stories within mine.

As practice, these works draw from interests and pivotal moments throughout my life, utilising confessional writing juxtaposed against bright and joyful imagery exploring femininity and self identity. My practice also often explores the mending of one’s inner child, the part of you unburdened by responsibility and reputation. This inner child is one of the purest forms of self as it is not bound by societal expectation nor standards. My inner child simply wants to have fun and be happy. In general, I aim to explore unrestrained truths of who I am at my core, who she is and was through every stage of my development and the universal nature of that feeling.

She and all reiterations of myself still reside within me and these parts of someone never truly leave. She’s that voice telling me to daydream, to dance, to play.


these women are me. with stars in my eyes i watched.

these women are me.

thirteen through fifteen should have been prime. little me, she was far too small, she didn’t know.

little me, she needed time.

i was young, i’m not now. aging years i shouldn’t.

take my soul, make it yours. 

take my breath, i won’t need it.

sip me ‘til there’s nothing left.

take my pain, pour it down the drain.

the skin on my skin feels anything but right, it feels tight.

i want to be mine, so i’ll have to take it. back the years i lost

i should see me like if i were five. the same little girl in that dress,

the one with stars for eyes.

i let her go. i miss her

 i’ll find her again.


mixed media image with broken mirror, pearls and butterfly imagery
Ayla Stewart, ‘the space between’, 2023, acrylic on wood, paint marker, mirror, rhinestone appliqué, 20.5 x 38 cm



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Ayla Stewart