WITHERING IN BLOOM SERIES
It is as though the toll taken on survivors of sexual assault has been overlooked; it has
been passed on generation after generation and dismissed as another obligatory action
that women must abide by. Our beauty and transcendence camouflages the state of our
minds and souls. Our environment has become hazardous and those within it allude to
the issues at hand out of a need to be perceived as progressive. Women are treated as
nothing but vessels for seed and should be silenced otherwise. It is time to call attention
to this- to look the foundation and tend to this culmination. This series is meant to
confront you, to make you see the withering effects of a society promoting rape and
violence against women, and to consider the effects that could take place should this
environment change. It is not meant to mistake victims as such: we are survivors
adjusting to our surroundings.
In bloom this environment begins to become an issue. Some as children, some at a
pubescent age, some in adulthood, but the real issue began as our nation was in bloom.
A place created to enhance the status of man and damned be everyone else. Since the
beginning of our colonization, The States has been a place neglecting the American
women for use of power dynamics. For if women are in their place, men have the
freedom to find theirs. Damned be their pain. This has not changed due to the perceived
progression. It will not change if we are not willing to confront the damages done.
Turning each piece as my pain and experiences revolve around me, I bloom each from
soil. Out of nothing being given just as every woman before me, I recycle the earth to
create a representation of my state. I emerge from a lost vessel. A vessel that no longer
bares your seed for you have stripped that gift away from yourself. I am no longer a
form for the taking, I am fragile yet strong in stance and not to be disturbed any further. I
have survived the fire and am in a state of new beauty and purpose. I am here to show
you that you have wilted me, but I am not subdued. I am not broken from the actions of
Embrace yourself in our pain and help us begin to rejuvenate. In order to restore the
pain and hurt caused: the withering state of our fellow woman, we must change the
environment. Adjust the soil, tend to the garden, and restore those who have withered.
This process is necessary for the revitalization of our country and of our people.
Throughout time, women have been seen and idealized in art as personal caretakers or fertility
figures. I aim to deconstruct these ideals in relics of women by repurposing, enlarging, and
redirecting the intentions of the the relics themselves. As women’s societal roles are
progressing, our displays through art should reflect our newfound stance against sexual
violence and our coming together as one against an unjust cause.
I model my forms like that of the Woman of Willendorf, turning and altering each piece as they
progress. Forming these pieces is a therapeutic process to me and alone is already a tool I use
to work through my struggles as a survivor. As I piece each section of these forms together, I
am creating a platform for which people can come together as one against rape culture. The
final attachment I add to these forms are their handles and embellishments. These are added to
give identity to the forms in the space that they occupy. They add a sense of posture- of being.
Once my forms are fired and ready, they are vessels for holding and fermenting the memorabilia
of fellow victims and myself. The process of alcoholic fermentation confers sugars into energy
by removing oxygen. Together, with the help of each piece, we can take substances that has
been used to take advantage of survivors and use it to suffocate this culture that perpetuates
rape. These forms have become something to birth a new energy and represent strength in
These forms are no longer symbols of fertility to me, but symbols of birth in a new light. Through
this process, I have been able to realize the many different things that women can produce and
reconstitute. Rather than being fertility or fetish objects, these forms have become a symbol of
feminine strength. They have taken on my pain and altered it alongside me. My ladies have
helped form me just as much as I have formed them.
A culture in which sexual assault and abuse are normalized is not one that is created overnight. It is created throughout history by way of tradition and established power structure. America has become one of the many societies that has adopted this “culture”. My work explores the history of these ideals by looking into power structures through war. I aim to combat these ideals by having each piece adapt to these constructs in a progressive way for victims.
Women have been used as weapons of war for thousands of years as a way to infiltrate an enemy’s society by making it impure with their forced offspring. The reactions to the victims was to shame them and shun them from their homes and their society. When I read of this, I cannot help but be reminded of the many women in our country today who are being shamed into not speaking out against sexual violence. Some become rejected from distrusting loved ones for making their voices heard.
I want to reject this and combat it with display of a new culture in which victims stand in solidarity against these ideals. The first step I have taken to bring this idea to life is display myself for the purpose of actively speaking out against my rapists without shame. Since my attacks, I have felt that with each occurance, I lose another piece of my identity. The disembodiment represents this for me.
Choosing to put myself out on this pedestal is an attempt to show other women that it is not shameful to be a victim and that we should not feel at fault for something others have done to us. By using forms of weaponry in juxtaposition with my body, I aim to represent this idea to women as protective and operative ammunition against rape culture and those who perpetuate it. While our assailants may have thought they ruined our bodies and strength with their attacks, we have actually become stronger and more united than ever.
To learn more about my artistic journey, please inquire below.