Project Directors and featured artists Bianca Lago and Julia White are initiating Conversations About Power in the creation of their work. The artists are survivors of sexual abuse who use art as a means of self-expression in response to trauma. The duet exhibition aims to give a platform to survivors of sexual abuse, to discuss consent, boundaries, relationships and mental illness. The exhibition showcases two contrasting styles of paintings that exist in visual and conceptual dialogue with one another. In addition to the exhibition, Conversations About Power facilitates mixed-media sketchbook workshops that teach art-making techniques and processes as tools for introspection. We hope to share and spread the use of visual expression as a vehicle for processing trauma and promoting healing.
Lago’s work demands the issue of sexual abuse to be seen and responsibility to be taken. She created her series of haunting portraits to focus on the predators, rather than those who have been victimized. Lago works in parallel towards her personal healing and that of her community, by addressing the dynamics of power in its many facets. Conversely, White’s practice functions as a form of meditative visualization. White is enshrining her psyche in a protective, patterned, magical veil. This visual, meditational practice allows her perspective to shift away from the belief that the world is a dark place; White believes instead, that the darkness informs the light. The artists’ bodies of work are in dialogue with one another in an incredibly symbiotic way, as they are both centered on coping with experiences of abuse. Just as individual survivors have infinite ways of getting through life and thriving in the aftermath of trauma, we tackle this issue in very different and even dualistic ways.
Our organization’s mission is to perpetuate these imperative conversations about power, both its loss and reclamation. Far too often survivors of abuse are shamed or not taken seriously; the pendulum needs to shift. Far too often abusers are let go with no more than a slap on the wrist, while survivors suffer lengthy traumas. The cultural conversation about mental health and seeking help when you have either been abused, or have thoughts about abusing, needs to get louder. We believe that art can be a powerful vehicle for social change. In the fight to eradicate sexual abuse from our culture, we hold that it is high-time for civilization to live up to its name. What better way to answer and subvert the negative effects of the most uncivilized of acts, than with Art?