The Art of Rebellion
We first encounter LA-based street artist, Lydia Emily, as she creates a large-scale mural of a Masai woman in a tunnel, 30-feet underground in Oakland, California. Not the typical profile of a street artist, Lydia is 40-something and single mother of two daughters, one of whom has autism. She is also afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system and disrupts the flow of information to the brain.
Lydia’s home is a haven for both her daughters. The youngest, Coco, is preoccupied with Russian geopolitics and editing Wikipedia, as autism expresses in surprising moments of genius. Dorothy navigates adolescence as she explores art and activism through collaborative works with Lydia.
New complications arise in Lydia’s health as her MS relapses begin to increase. Beset by intensifying symptoms, Lydia struggles to complete a series of paintings for a solo show that could help her pay mounting medical bills.
Just when things are at their worst, a seemingly noble, bearish man named Andy arrives in Lydia’s life and quickly finds a place in the family. Lydia and Andy’s swift romance yields a wedding and a move to Austin for job security. But not long after relocating, Andy’s temperament darkens and just nine months after their wedding, their marriage falls apart. The day Andy leaves Lydia, he empties their bank account, has the power turned off in their home, and cancels her health insurance.
Shocked, fearful, and alone, Lydia returns to California with her daughters to be closer to her mother and her friends and to return to the refuge of her art. And even as her disease progresses, Lydia persists, using shoelaces to secure paintbrushes to her hands as they lose their grip, declaring, “I dare you to make this my last year, I love my life - try and take it from me.”