Written by Claire Dorey
Images from left, Julia de Greff, Anna Arianova, Valerie Lambert, Veena Scialo
We’ve reached the last post featuring the artwork and statements from artists participating in Silence Is Over in June 2018 at the Portico Gallery. We hope you enjoyed their statements and found them as enlightening as we did. If you missed any do scroll back though the blog.
In Silence Is Over more than 20 female artists had their say on a blank canvas on the subject of coercive control and sexual abuse. The canvases were assembled into two billboards to create a wall of unity. Traditionally used for advertising, often objectifying women, the billboards served as a reclaimed space where the female voice could be heard. The statements were an integral part of the exhibition.
JULIA DE GREFF, ’Don’t Hurt My Body’, Print ink and water colour, £330
The piece is about our amazing body selves and how precious we are. When I feel embodied, in my body, I realise I am my body and I feel alive in the present. I want to look after my body self. I feel anger and hurt at how my body self has suffered. I am taking part in Silence Is Over because we need to feel safe in our body selves. Then we can live our lives. No one has a right to hurt us or intimidate us or abuse us. And it happens. Too often. It happens particularly to women and children. It is often denied which makes it harder to speak about. Pain that belongs to someone else is given to us. Power is abused. It needs to STOP.
ANNA ARIANOVA, “Walking the Path”, Acrylic & mixed media, £300
My work is about an inner journey. When we write or talk about how we feel, ask questions about ourselves, what is going on, we find the answers. We learn a lot on our way. When we talk about hard things, we gain strength. Even if we whisper. When the silence is over, it brings a change. Looking at things and looking through things brings the truth as it is. We open old wounds and heal them. On the bottom, on the very edge, we will find resourcefulness. Because we are not wasting energy on lying. If we call things by their names and say them, or cry them out, or whisper, talk them over, then it brings the strength. Our senses sharpen and get stronger. We become more aware of traps and predators. We remember that we have our fangs and claws. We have our territory, which we are going to defend to the end. We keep our arrows ready. It is the only way of healing ourselves and the society as well. We also get together. It is the way to find our own flock or pack.
VALERIE LAMBERT, Not on Our Streets, Acrylic, £250
Upskirting, the taking of surreptitious, sexually intrusive photographs is to become a specific criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison and possible inclusion on the sex offenders register. The justice minister Lucy Frazer has confirmed that the government would back a private member’s bill introduced by the Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse outlawing the practice. When this happens, upskirting will be advertised as an offence. My work anticipates this as part of a public awareness promotion. In this instance, Lambeth Council’s ‘Not on Our Streets’ campaign, which highlights the antisocial nature of actions that are commonly recognised to be unacceptable.
VEENA SCIALO, Benevolence, Oil on canvas, £350
My desire was to create a piece that will bring balance and a feeling of peace and hope. There has been so much hurt, too much pain to bear and sometimes the offenders were victims too. The image of Mother and Child expresses innocence and unconditional love. If these qualities can be rekindled within humanity a process of healing can begin.The symbol of the caduceus served as a starting point and whilst sketching, it became obvious to see a connection with the eastern knowledge of the mother energy kundalini and the tree of life. The latin word caduceus is derived from the greek word karykeion meaning herald which is linked to the Sanskrit word karu meaning singer. The wings of the divine messenger Hermes or Mercury make the caduceus a symbol of rapid diplomacy. To me the essence of diplomacy is Benevolence.