BEAUTY AND RAPE: NO SAFE SPACE
I recently finished painting a mural in the driveway of Heart & Hands Community Health Collective and I am holding a...
Vulnerability Vigil and Mural Opening outside.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Heart & Hands Community Health Collective
851 Cormorant St
Victoria, BC (so-called)
It will be the first time that my two art practices that have defined so much of my adult life will come together.
Please wear masks and practice physical distancing.
I am raising money to support the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (https://www.nativeyouthsexualhealth.com/), an organization by and for Indigenous youth, that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice throughout the United States and Canada.
https://chuffed.org/project/mural-opening-fundraiser Also, consider bringing cash and we'll count at the event.
Less than 48 hours after I finished the mural, police informed Christina Chan, owner of Heart & Hands Community Health Collective, that a man had sexually assaulted a woman in the space in the middle of the night.
This hit me like a punch in the gut.
These things happen all the time, of course, but proximity makes it more personal. Add to that the disparity between the brief satisfaction of creating a beautiful, potentially healing space versus the brutality of what transpired so quickly after.
I have still not fully processed it. Because there is ALWAYS SO MUCH TO PROCESS and processing (feeling+thinking+analyzing EVERYTHING) is my area of expertise.
This Vulnerability Vigil will be a time to hold and feel these seeming opposites in our consciousness: beauty and rape, humanity and inhumanity, loving expression and colonization, etc. I invite you to process with me. I will also hold space for the victim and the perpetrator.
For those who don’t know, I'm an advanced maternal age mother, 59, with two daughters who are almost 14 and 19. I'm diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, all reproductive organs removed. I've lived more than 5 years past diagnosis. “Miracle patient.”
For the past 15 years, I have also been doing an extremely challenging (for myself especially, but for audiences also) performance art/activism project using my naked or nearly naked body to share and create space for vulnerability, under the umbrella title of the Human Body Project. I am, in fact, the first person in the world to stand on the streets naked holding the Extinction Symbol as part of my series of public Vulnerability Vigils.
I have dealt with super-intense mental and emotional struggles my whole life and I’m only alive because of my socioeconomic circumstances and my will to continue being a mother to my kids.
In the 90s, my 30s, before I had kids, I was a serious visual artist. I lived like a millennial before millennials. In some ways, it was the worst possible time art-world-wise to be a painter. But I was relatively successful. A lot of it had to do with the luck of privilege (upper middle class people in my milieu and in the 90s people had some disposable income), but still. Towards the end of my decade of serious painting I started having a desire to paint murals but it never happened (kids and ill-fated career in academia).
Recently I’ve been looking more closely at my isolation, invisibility, and lack of rewards in my roles–and they are very much heavy, culturally-weighed roles–as a “wife” and “mother.” I came to a deeper realisation that I need to do more things for myself, things that I want to do.
So I asked Christina if I could paint over the aged, faded mural that was there. I’m really grateful she said yes. Christina is a friend who, like myself, has been through some intense chronic illness, surgeries, and ongoing fragility.
We are also PHENOMENAL WOMEN working outside normal parameters and EXPLICITLY pushing back against an oppressive culture. Heart & Hands is a healing space.
People have said that my visual art brings them joy.
Haha, no one says that about my hundreds of performances and street actions. The Human Body Project work is challenging and fucking DEPRESSING because it’s about what people are finally starting to face: OUR GLOBALIZED DESTRUCTIVE COLONIZING CAPITALIST MISOGYNIST DIFFERENCE-HATING CULTURE IS WINNING.
So, hey. Come to see the mural but also come see ME, a person who has been doing the work for a really long time.
Come to the property, in the Canadian legal system sense, of another woman who has been doing the work a really long time.
But, really, come be part of a creative space, a disruptive space, on the unceded traditional territories of the Lekwungen peoples (today known as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations), a people who once looked after the world and weren’t super big on rape.
Again, thanks to Christina Chan, owner of Heart & Hands Community Health Collective. And big thanks to my mural painting helpers: Fraea the Banshee, Sophia Howell Diamant, Ruby Sawyer, Catherine Wright and Faeron Wright-Jones.
Upcoming: My show Schmope at the Vancouver Fringe miniseries Nov 26-Dec 5, 2020. Phenomenal woman. Superhero. Schmancer survivor. Brilliant performance artist/improviser/tragicomedian Tasha Diamant uses her naked body+miraculous self to create offerings pushing back against an oppressive culture. Radical vulnerability as medicine. Montreal Fringe creativity award winner 2018.