Working Title Eve Exposed
I struggle with the word forgiveness, vengeance seems more accessible. An eye for an eye. Painting of Judith Beheading Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi above.
In my mid 20s, to heal, I turned to Buddhism and yoga. A spiritual practice of letting go.
I'm compelled to make work about social injustice, patriarchy and transformation and to seek beauty.
In December 2019 I decided to create work about domestic violence. I wondered who I am (I grew up in a violent household) and who my mother is? Why do men, (it is largely a gendered crime), feel the need to control though abuse, toxic masculinity and violence? Why do women become complicit? What kind of woman leaves and builds a new life? Why did my mother stay and become a perpetrator? That December my parents had yet another fight and it appears that mum hit dad with an ornament in the forehead, his heart gave out and he died. I photographed his body after death, found the ornament, cleaned up the blood. Mum has dementia, she claims to not remember what happened. She tore up her wedding photographs ripping his face in half. I have noticed the bottles of alcohol that need recycling. As a child I was abused and broken, she did not notice the injuries. How do I let go of my parents and seek healing? Perhaps if I photograph survivors I will find that my shame is misplaced, it happened to others too, exploring these narratives will allow me to transform.
This work is not just my story, the aim is to look at an issue and promote debate and social change. Over at least two years I will take the portraits of survivors of domestic abuse. I like to be embedded in a project and have built a team of people who are also survivors of trauma. Trauma is generational, at some point it must stop. In partnership with SafeLives, the national domestic abuse charity, and their Pioneers ( a grass roots group of women who help to form policy), I have a link to a large team and mentors to shape the narrative, lifting it beyond my personal issues. My experience is merely my doorway in.
Each subject will be asked to collaborate in the telling of her story, to bring an "endowment object" that is meaningful to her. Behind her will be backdrops that are painted by artists (Phoebe Blakeley Crewe and Laura Noble). These collages will be multi layered and have phrases embroidered into them. The narrative is woven into the cloth using traditionally women's crafts - from Agnes Richter to Tracy Emin, artists have used fabric, embroidery and colour to subvert.
Celia Peachy is a writer and activist. Her mother was murdered and she also turned to Eastern philosophy to seek healing. She is mentored by writer and critic Dominic Walsh, who worked with me on "You Brought Your Own Light".
Gaynor Stoddard brings the skills to sew the backdrops together and embroider them.
Phoebe Blakeley is a second year Fine Art student. She will paint the backdrops. She is collaborating with Laura Noble of L.A. Noble Gallery, London.