She walks… is a digital artwork combining music, song, spoken word, rap and hand drawn animations. It is the first part of a wider project called Restless that uses imagery from walking in coastal landscapes to talk about the experience of living as a survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse - ideas of being isolated and exposed, of navigating challenging territory and occupying marginal, liminal spaces. The central metaphor running through the project is the restless sea, slowly and insistently changing the landscape - just as activism changes culture through continuous collective action. She walks… sits at the mid point of the larger work - the character has survived and despite an inner fragmentation and experiences of dissociation, she is instinctively propelled forward.
The track ends with the idea that change is possible - it is a turning point. It's not that everything gets better from there on - I don’t really believe in recovery as such - I think we learn to live with what happens to us and reclaim some of what we’ve lost - trust, connection, hope… I will never not have been abused, I will never not be a survivor - it's not something that happened years ago and is now over - I live with the impact of it everyday - lots of us don’t survive and I am acutely aware of that.
Walking has been a massive part of my journey - I’m making up for lost time - I had a developmental delay when I was little because of the trauma - so walking is a victory. It's what I do to feel good, to find solace, to stay connected with my body, to work things out when my brain is in chaos and to write. The Restless project draws on a long tradition of artists and activists walking to create change - what do we do when we’ve had enough? We march.
She walks… is based on a poem I wrote after walking a 110 mile stretch the South West Coast Path, inspired specifically by the landscape around Portland in Dorset which is rich in contradictions - at once beautiful, wild and ancient and deeply scarred with quarrying, a Ministry of Defence site surrounded by razor wire and a high walled prison. The resonance for me is the impact of abusive, defensive or controlling patriarchal structures set against the wonder and resilience of the natural world.
Come along to our launch event on Wednesday 25th November at 8pm: https://bit.ly/she-walks-launch
Follow the event on Facebook: https://fb.me/e/b9km6BIdH
welcome to my blog
I'll be posting my personal reflections on creating work as an artist and survivor of childood sexual abuse, my work with the wider sector and interesting developments in arts and mental health.