Children’s Responses : IN THE SHADOWS

The Arts Space, Wodonga offer a range of arts programs which respond to the gallery’s exhibitions.   I have been delighted by the creations which have their starting point with some aspect of my work and were inspired by the education officer, Leisa Whyte’s  innovative approach e to  working with young and very young children to look at and create artworks .

One class responded to the sculptures, whilst another group of 3-5 year olds, with parents and grannies, created works  inspired by Forbidden Memory 






Victims of childhood sexual trauma commonly used the symbol of the butterfly as a simple and effective metaphor to express their personal transformation.  The metaphor aroused my curiosity about the nature of the ‘cocoons’ from which victims were emerging and provoked rumination on how a sense of home might be distorted by abuse.

When aberrant behaviours and secrets inhabit a space, honest, gentle and loving interaction is no longer possible.  Home is not a place of rest or comfort; nor can it adequately provide for the young to emerge safely and securely from it.  Forbidden Memory alludes to the distorted homes in which many victims of abuse reside, reflecting the failure of adults to create a secure home or provide sanctuary.

Below the surface, materials such as wire, glass, clay, human and animal teeth, bones, twigs, twine, fabric and beads work separately and together to evoke feelings of desolation, fear and entrapment.  They echo victims’ lives in unsustaining and threatening homes, without real comfort, in the shadow of violence.

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