Connecting the Dots - Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Exhibition includes works by artist/survivor of abuse

Connecting the Dots: Women’s Issues are on stage, in the galleries and at the clothesline on Campus this Fall

By Allie Rosemann, Art Museum Marketing Intern

“Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in.” This quote by American poet Amy Lowell encompasses the  exhibition,  Revealing the Light Within the Healing Power of Expressive Arts which is featured at the Miami University Art Museum through December 6. All of the works featured in this exhibition are the result of creative art therapy or therapeutic expression. Expressive art therapies include five modalities: visual art, music, dance/movement, drama and creative writing. The goal of the expressive arts are  the renewal of the mind, body and soul, either collectively or individually.

Rolinda LeMay is one of many featured artists in this exhibition who used the expressive arts to help confront and work through personal challenges. In LeMay’s instance, a lifetime of emotional and physical scars resulting from abuse as a child.  LeMay’s acrylic painting Violation of the Child is  particularly captivating, it stands out among the numerous art pieces surrounding it. It tells a story through not only its elements, but also its dialogue. The painting has many phrases painted within and over the indistinct human form  including “You cannot hurt me anymore ever!” and “I take back my soul!” For LeMay and many others who experience child abuse there is a belief that as the victim he or she is responsible; this belief can be one of the greatest  challenges victims must overcome. LeMay began her recovery with traditional talk  therapy, but it was not until many years later when she discovered the power of art therapy that she was actually able to fully face her past experiences and release the responsibility.

The Art Museum is just one university outlets that is bringing awareness to sexual violence. The Department of Theatre and Women’s Center also are addressing domestic violence awareness month in their own ways. The Department of Theatre is addressing sexual violence with the presentation of Emotional Creature. This production features stories of girls around the world challenged by issues about women empowerment, adolescence, peer pressure, abuse, sexual injustice, imprisonment and how they were triumphant and able to overcome the different battles they faced. Emotional Creature will be on stage at Miami University’s Gates-Abegglen Theatre from October 1-5. Tickets are available for purchase at the box office until October 5.

The Women’s Center is addressing domestic violence by sponsoring the Clothesline Project; a national awareness event that occurs every year during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This project brings awareness by hanging t-shirts representing stories of violence against women. While, these t-shirts may not be famous works of art hung in a museum they all have a story behind them and may serve many purposes. They have the ability to alleviate grief for the artist, help others deal with their pain, provide beauty to the public and shed light on sexual violence. This year’s t-shirt will be hung at the HUB, October  1-3,  from 10-3 p.m.  (Rain Location, McGuffey Hall 127). The Women's Center will provide students, faculty and staff with an opportunity to create a t-shirt for the exhibit in the Women's Center,  McGuffey Hall 127 until October 3 from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (all t-shirt making materials are provided by the Women's Center).

I encourage everyone to acknowledge and participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month by experiencing  one or all of these related events. Sexual abuse is a very serious and real issue on our campus-just over a week ago a campus crime alert reported an acquaintance  rape on southeast quad. The Art Museum, Theatre Department and the Women’s Center are doing their part in helping to create awareness and opportunities for healing.

Rolinda LeMay
Violation of the Child
, 2013
Acrylic and rice papers on canvas
Collection of the Artist

Artist Statement:

“Art therapy, and the opportunity to work with an art therapist have helped me in immeasurable ways. From the PTSD formed by childhood rape and traumas, constant flash backs, expressing emotions long held onto but not expressed, or overcoming severe anxiety, there had been no clear way to ‘voice’ these emotions and process them. My therapist made it ‘ok’ to bring these feelings and emotions to light through personal expression and the creation of art”.