_COLLAB: Journey Through Healing | Birth of a New Warrior
For artist Kristen Lafferty, healing is more than just survival
“For some people, it would take their whole life to deal with rape. So why are we not focusing on people’s healing processes?” artist Kristen Lafferty makes the case for her first exhibit, and possibly her last by choice.
In Kristen’s case, it took months and a conscious decision to be “done with it” – made possible with the help of a close and consistent, rape culture-free support system – but for others, their battle with rape and its aftermath could be lifelong. “Rape could last for 10 minutes, but you [could be] dealing with it for 30 years. It’s crazy.”
For the embattled, Kristen offers a new perspective through art. She always knew the exhibit would take the viewer on a journey of healing – but to where it led, she wasn’t sure. Clarity came to her in words, as it always did since she turned to writing years before as an emotional outlet.
“There’s so much power in the way we talk about things and the words that we use,” Kristen shares. “I read so much about ‘victim, victim, victim’ and it’s such a heavy, negative word. What if we didn’t have to talk about victims like this? People talk about ‘survivors’, but that implies you’re just getting by. You’re not exceeding that.”
The perfect word came to her not long into the work. “I had this image of two versions of me facing each other, sitting on the floor. One being this victim, blood and bruises, and this other one who’s like this really strong warrior.”
That’s when Kristen realized she got what she was looking for. To be a ‘warrior’ meant she was constantly engaging the healing process. It meant she was fighting and pushing back, winning and coming back stronger. Instead of simply surviving, she thrives.
“There are many misconceptions about rape, and one of them is that [victims are] completely broken people. It’s not true.”
Follow Kristen’s journey from victim to warrior. _Collab: Journey Through Healing – Birth of a New Warrior opens at the _Gallery at ASPACE Greenbelt on 19-20 August with panel discussions on rape + yoga + self-defense + sound healing. The exhibit stays on until 27 August.
Join the conversations online: #BirthOfANewWarrior + #ASpaceToGather