This work is a part of a greater body called Inner Space, which explores visual representations of the experience of sexual assault, the memory of it, and the complicated, both public and private, journey into the depth of its effect on us. This selected pair is of drawings inspired by the compelling falling girl images in the Fairburn Children artists resource books. The book itself is a compellation of black and white images considerably dated in its sense of appropriateness to gender and sexuality. Printed in the 70's, yet these falling girls seem completely relevant to current culture. With skirts and long hair thrown about in momentum, viewed from suggestive angles, they border uncomfortably on both elation and torture. The questions they elicit are at the core of why they are compelling, but also the bodily experience of being out of control and the dive into the internal space that is occupied by trauma.
ie: Why are they falling (from grace=blame/shame)? Were they pushed (is the perpetrator us, the viewer)? Does that blurry boundary between elation and torture reflect the experience of the abuse (a narcissist grooming a victim to feel special who also violates their body)? Is it play or panic? Does the skirt and long hair simply show momentum better or are boys culturally pressured to be in control and do not 'fall' (nearly all images are female not male in Fairburn source book)? Is vulnerability to a fall a cultural ingredient to femininity?
The second image in this selection is a charcoal rubbing of simple, wooden child blocks arranged to fill out a similar space to the falling figure. The blocks are a visual representation of a child's rudimentary language trying to explain the incident, with all of the connotations of 'rubbing' included (a grave stone rubbing that attempts to preserve and memorialize, but also the sexual undertones of the word rubbing)... Like a child trying to call for help, trying to show, draw, explain with non-adult language or maturity. Its mystery and subtleness reflects the depth a child experiences trauma and the difficulty of processing the experience, but also the compulsion to figuratively and literally draw-out the trauma, to find safety and protection in adults.