Last weekend artworks were featured at Parallax Art Fair, London and I was lucky enough to make it down, opposed to simply sending work via post. The opening night was a great chance to meet other artists, makers, curators and collectors. The posters which were put into the show are available online at the Facebook page as well as scattered around London, Brighton, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton.
Mind and Matter, 55" x 55", oil on canvas, 2016. Please click on the image above and scroll along to see the poster variants.
Transferring the painting Mind and Matter (2016) into a
poster format and adding in additional text felt like the best direction for
this project, as a piece always felt missing. I feel not only has it given my
story agency but hopefully will have a positive effect on some attitudes
towards sexual violence. I wanted to take this opportunity to speak further
about my mental health history as a segway from the rape-awareness posters as I
have had the luck to read about other strong women who have been in similar situations
Having anything done to my unconscious body by little more than a stranger as my very first sexual experience.
Porn normalises this.
Living with the fallout of abuse, sexual, physical and psychological is difficult. I’m probably seen as an attention seeker, ungrateful for the nice house I get to live in, the wage I earn from my job, my degree and ability to study, my artwork I practice.
But I don’t want to be abused any more. I’m not scared about going out and meeting someone or even having sex. Most of the time I don’t want to. I feel as if I have to to be normal or feel as if I’m not wallowing and wasting my life.
I sometimes want to die but don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t want to live in this universe I don’t agree with. My abuse is someone’s fetish and the person who possesses that mind set will rabidly attack me, and if I don’t hold my own – I cry talking about what happened, I’ve had counselling to develop my confidence but still can’t help welling up – I end up looking like a weak, feeble old woman. I’m seen as pathetic.
Not only that but once I appear that way I’m also creepy because the person who likes to abuse young girls will say that it’s because those young girls wanted it. And once I am past being a young girl, it is still enforced that I somehow still “wanted it” but past what they want. So it’s not just being eternally abused as my young self but being abused as I get older.
I find it difficult to joke about anything to do with what happened. I know the internet hates woman who get “triggered” and it adds to the cycle of power that feels like it’s sinisterly all set up against me. But I understand genuine mistakes are genuine mistakes.
When it feels like they’re not it leads to paranoia: when I begin to think that someone is pretending to ignore the issue when they know what it is, how it makes the survivor feel and how the situation can be manipulated for their gain. Whether it be the respect of those who hate “triggered” women or the respect of those who like to masturbate to young girls being abused, or because of pack mentality in which a bully bullies because it makes them feel good to attack or control someone weaker.
The posters I made may not be noticeable in the big picture
but I’m proud of my actions. I will continue to circulate them and hope to work
more on similar campaigns using my paintings. With all of the best wishes in
the world to others, whether you’re a survivor of assault and rape or not, please
keep safe. Watch out for not just your friends, but acquaintances at parties
However awkward it might seem stepping in and stopping somebody from assaulting someone else who cannot consent will change that life for the better. It’s not like being taped to a lamp-post with a traffic cone on your head. It’s an entire world changed, it’s your body and choices about things you haven’t even done yet stolen.
It puts you on the verge of suicide and self-harm. It distracts you from peaceful thoughts and the ability to concentrate on studying or promotion at work.
It robs you of dreams, hopes, aspirations and relationships.
Please be vigilant and stay respectful towards others, whoever they are.
Most of all please show yourself love and care.
(Cover photo stencil sketch for tag art)