To grin and bear it is to suffer pain or misfortune in a stoical manner. To GRIN AND BARE IT is to overcome pain and misfortune by baring your trauma to start the healing process.
My work is concerned with individuals that are being disabled by trauma, or who know people who have not healed from a traumatic event. Trauma survivors are so used to fighting that they often don’t have a chance to heal. I intend to give people the agency and confidence to tackle their own traumas through non-traditional methods, such as felt making, that allow you to understand your trauma. I want to let people know that they are not alone and that these indescribable feelings they may not be able to talk about or control are a part of a shared human experience which we will learn to overcome – and we will learn to thrive once more.
The dog felt was made by my “pack” of supporters who have been through their own personal traumas, the felting process helped us collectively heal and talk about our trauma. The felt is an armor, a protective layer keeping us safe from past trauma. Each person who made felt was asked to bark as a warning and as protection- the sound piece plays in the space to remind people of their presence.
With regards to the wax casts, when exposing the nude form in media or art, the body can easily be shifted to the realm of the erotic.
Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Do No Evil is me baring the trauma that is held between my legs. This challenges the sexualisation of a body part that is so contextually loaded and so often exploited. This trauma also links in with when one has a chronic illness and it is required to have oneself explored intensively – this experience can be traumatic, especially for sexual trauma survivors. In the same way that dogs bare their teeth, I have bared my genitalia in the form of these casts. The pure light shining out from the casts represents a personal rebirth. Similarly, I have deconstructed a hospital bed and cast the mattress in wax.
By casting the mattress and deconstructing the hospital bed I am also deconstructing the traumatic memories I have of being in hospital throughout my life. The Protector, wearing an armour of felt made by trauma survivors, stands with the walking aid showing a resilience to the trauma we have gone through. The figure stands occupying the space to show that we are still here, that we have survived and will continue to survive.
Creating a protective dog-fur coat for the delicate wax figure with fellow trauma survivors is a testament to the need for protection and comfort.