LIGHT SURVIVES Exhibition Statement
Light Survives is the third exhibition in a series of works focusing on the voices of survivors of rape and abuse. This work includes mixed media portraits of survivors and allies painted on wood panels and passages written by survivors viewable only in augmented reality through the app Artivive. I empowered the survivors to select the photos I used as source material.
In the spring of 2017, I began reaching out online and in person to find survivors open to talking to me. Some people agreed to send me handwritten notes about their experiences. The passages included thoughts, poems, and descriptions of the assault that they had never shared previously. These people were strangers, acquaintances, close friends, and family. From the beginning, I have included survivors of multiple genders in each exhibition in this series.
The portraits in this larger body of work are of survivors and people who wish to stand up as allies for those who did not want their likeness depicted. While the number of people openly willing to identify as survivors has increased, many do not feel safe identifying as survivors daily. These portraits do not distinguish between who is and is not a survivor to offer privacy to those victimized. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) states that while one in six women have been harmed by sexual assault, all people are affected.
The portraits are created with care and intricacy to enhance their power and uplift survivors. Their words reflect their experiences and words of encouragement for the other survivors who may be viewing these works. Their words manifest as animations visible in virtual space. Using the medium of augmented reality adds a layer of interactivity and requires investment. Viewing them on the small scale of a phone or other portable device creates a sense of privacy and intimacy. This space reflects the hidden nature of survivorship, yet the willingness of the survivors to share their words and identities with those who believe them and may share the same experiences. Each virtual space includes portraits of survivors and allies from past exhibitions WITHSTAND and PRESSING.
Together, these works aim to empower survivors by participating in their production and sharing their words. Collectively, it confronts abusers and lifts the veil of invisibility from the experiences of survivors.