4.28.2012

Bold Faces of Truth Brings Profound Impact


“The hair represents the loss of having it pulled out.
The choker represents strangulation.
The wire on the mouth represents being forced to keep quiet.
The words on the back of the head represent what I’m leaving behind.
The words on the front of the head represent where I’m going in my journey through life.
I...look forward to good things in the future.”
Returning from a highly stressful but wildly successful week of coordinating a three-day policy academy in Washington DC, I deplaned in Nashville exhausted, running on empty, and looking forward to seeing my wife and my dogs, my desk, a cup of good coffee, and an early bedtime.   Two 16 hour days, one 14 hour day, the intense pressure of being "on" and in "customer service is paramount" mode, and working closely with some of the top leaders in our field on some particularly thorny issues had taken about every last ounce of my energy and brainpower, leaving me shellacked, burnt and crispy, in a good way for sure, but definitely running on reserve.

So I'm moseying through the A terminal on my way to the exit when I saw this image in a display case along the wall:


The image stopped me in my tracks.  I read the small description of the piece and was immediately captivated, repulsed and traumatized all at once. I slowly went from one figure to another, completely pulled into the trauma, the fear, but most importantly perhaps, the recovery of the women who had shared their stories and driven home through this provocative visual tyranny the anguish and incredible hardships they'd endured.


I immediately realized that as we in the Behavioral Health world grapple with defining "recovery" in a way that integrates the conceptual framework of both Addiction and Mental Health, we could be missing something important around trauma in this effort to construct a working definition.

I think most of us in the field are acutely aware of the impact of trauma and its connection to both mental health and addiction.  But I'm not so sure we've sufficiently included the effects of trauma from outside these two realms into the discussion and it seems a critically important aspect if we're to have a real and inclusive definition of Recovery. I could be wrong here, and NCTIC may indeed be addressing this in their effort to help shape the working definition.  However, because I don't hear it mentioned - very much at all - in the conversations I've been involved in around the recovery definition, it's worrisome to me that it's not on our collective radar in a big enough way as to help further shape the elucidation and understanding.



Bold Faces of Truth II

The Bold Faces of Truth art will continue to be on display in the board room of the YWCA
Monday - Friday from 8:30am - 5:00pm for public viewing. Please call (615) 983-5136 to book a group viewing.


Bold Faces of Truth II, produced by the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee and funded through Metro Arts Commission and The Mary Wester Foundation, presents a provocative art collection created by survivors of domestic violence. These faces took shape in a two-day workshop that partnered survivors with local, professional artists. Guided by a licensed clinical social worker, these artists helped the women express both verbally and artistically their journey from victim to victorious. Accompanying each piece are the words of the survivor who created it. Bold Faces of Truth acts not only as part of the personal healing process for these women, but also as a universal statement on domestic violence and the triumph of moving beyond its grip.
Learn more about the background of this art project.
 
BFT_5_web_(1).jpg BFT2_web_(1).bmp
   Nine, 13, 17 and 45 are the ages when traumatic events forever changed the flower I was supposed to be.
   Now, I am planting seeds for a new flower bed that will remember my past but also welcome my future.
   When I began this (head) project I was nervous, but I let my emotions speak to me. I listened to what they had to say. I feel wonderful now that this head tells my story and holds hope for my journey forward.
 
   The first thing I did for myself was trust in the Lord. The abuse I put up with for so long was more than my mind and body could bear. I chose the path of spiritual healing.
   The straw hair represents the loss of my own hair when it was pulled out. The choke represents my strangulation. The wire on the mouth represents my forced silence.
   The words on the back of the head are what I am leaving behind, and the words on the front are where I am headed in my journey through life. Thank you, Thomas Bandy, for showing me how to heal. Rest in peace, my dear friend. 
Thank you to the artists who donated their time and resources to this project.  You may read about each of them below:

Margaret (Peg) Williams, a native Nashvillian and art instructor for 37 years, teaches middle school drawing and painting and high school art history at University School of Nashville. As a teacher, she delights in devising artistic projects and watching her students come up with a wide variety of solutions.
In addition to her participation in Bold Faces of Truth, Peg has volunteered for the past four years at the YWCA’s Weaver Domestic Violence Shelter. She brings along her English setter, Mosey, who is a trained pet-partner. Together, they work as part of the healing process for children who are residents at the shelter.


Stacey Pierce-Nickle, a Nashvilian for over 20 years, returned to her true love of painting after a multi-faceted career that included marketing, graphic design and owning her own East Nashville gallery, The King’s Witt. Her years in graphic design have given her a unique painting perspective and technique. Her belief that we are all intertwined in life not only by nature, but by our own experiences gave her the idea to see if we could look past what is in front of our eyes and peel back each layer to see what lies beneath.
Stacey’s branching out into three-dimensional textile art therapy was born out of a very personal need to connect to the survivors of abuse, not only to assist in identifying the detrimental effects, but also to give hope and acknowledge the incredible power these women have.
Her art is in galleries throughout the South and Southwest. She recently won a national juried show in Austin, TX, for her piece "Birdczar."
www.drawablankart.com

After earning her Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from Middle Tennessee State University, Tarri Driver decided to focus on the therapeutic value of the process of artmaking and earned a Masters Degree in Education at the University of Louisville, focusing on Expressive Therapies, specifically Art Therapy. After graduate school, Tarri returned to Tennessee and works with children and adolescents in school settings, helping them to express themselves through art. She continues to make art in a variety of media including, but not limited to, painting, collage and community beautification murals. She happily resides with her husband and is finishing a children’s book composed of haiku, collage and watercolor.
www.lunarmoonerlula.com

Using fabric, needle-and-thread and "pieces of the past," Kathleen Madigan's mixed media works examine inner landscapes, often focusing on a woman's work, a woman's "place" and the value society places on women themselves, their inner lives, dreams and journeys.
Her work has exhibited in Spain, Senegal, Chicago and Washington, D.C., among other places. Selected works appeared in Art From Found Objects at the Monmouth Museum, and several are included in the Feminist Art Base at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Her solo exhibition, titled Tales From Inside, is currently showing at the University of North Carolina and features works highlighting domestic issues. She hopes to see it in several more universities over the next year to promote awareness of domestic violence.

www.madigankathleen.com



Bold Faces of Truth 2


“The hair represents the loss of having it pulled out.
The choker represents strangulation.
The wire on the mouth represents being forced to keep quiet.
The words on the back of the head represent what I’m leaving behind.
The words on the front of the head represent where I’m going in my journey through life.
I...look forward to good things in the future.”

-- Bold Faces of Truth participant
                                                                                               

At the YWCA, we dedicate ourselves to finding new and profound ways to help victims of domestic violence heal and move forward to better lives.

One such avenue is through art. In 2007, we began a program pairing professional artists with survivors willing to explore their journeys from abuse to wholeness. A licensed clinical social worker helps guide the artists through the process.

That first program produced not only affirming experiences for the survivors, but also powerful images. Their combination of darkness and light literally put a face on domestic violence. We found the collection of sculptures at once strong and vulnerable, disturbing and reassuring.

 In 2011, the YWCA again called on local artists to resume the
Bold Faces of Truth  project. Thanks to funding by Metro Arts Commission, seven artists paired with seven survivors. Their collaborations are on view here. These faces took shape in a two-day workshop during which the artists helped the women express both verbally and artistically their journey from victim to victorious. Accompanying each sculpture are the words of the survivor who created it.

In these sculptures, we see a way to share with the community an often private plague that cries for public awareness. One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence during her lifetime. Tennessee ranks 5th in the nation for most homicides associated with domestic violence.

In 2010, the YWCA’s Weaver Domestic Violence Center -- the largest domestic violence shelter in the state -- served 233 women and 187 children for a total of 15,753 bed-nights. Our crisis line answered 3,791 calls, and our Transitional Housing program helped 33 women and 46 children establish safe, productive lives in the community.

“All of the art is powerful, some of the pieces represent the artist’s experience of the journey from victim to survivor with the YWCA by her side,” says Pat Shea, President and CEO of the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee

We hope you find these works of art moving and important. The YWCA wishes to thank the artists who selflessly volunteered their time and talents and the survivors who bravely shared their stories. Bold Faces of Truth acts not only as part of the personal healing process for these women, but also as a universal statement on domestic violence and the triumph of moving beyond its grip.

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