Some people have a lot of mourning to do. People who have been sexually abused experience many losses throughout their lives as a result of the abuse inflicted upon them by others. These can include : loss of self-belief, loss of a good solid foundation for life, loss of education, capacity to work, trust in others, connection with family, ability to relate well to others; many experience mental illness – including long-term depression, anxiety and substance-addiction in order to dull the pain. Many women commonly end up in abusive partner-relationships and are also abused by children. It is very hard to over-state the effects of sexual abuse.
Through 2015 women in the East Bentleigh SECASA art group created artworks to express their feelings of loss and grief. From the beginning they were intended for installation at the Monash Medical Centre – so they were also part of a wider conversation about the effects of sexual abuse and their need for a place to mourn. As the works were to be part of a public artwork, we had to decide how to bring unity to the project as well as give each woman the autonomy to create the work she needed to create to express her experience and feelings. We settled on the theme of the arch. Each person could create what they liked within that shape.
Bringing feelings out from deep inside into an artwork can be challenging, confronting, comforting and liberating.
Some combined clay work with mosaic to explore their feelings through touch and moulding, as well as through shape and colour.
The project will continue into 2016 when more work will be made and installed in the Monash Medical Centre, Moorabbin.
Created by women at the South East Centre Against Sexual Assault – East Bentleigh Group – with Anne Riggs, facilitating Artist.