2017 Stains and Traces III - Arts Forum, Hastings
By Degrees –
University Centre West Kent, Tonbridge
In the Dock –
University of Kent, Old Dockyard, Chatham
the elephant in the room 2016
The phrase: the elephant in the room relates to an overpowering presence which nobody wants to talk about. Pushed into the corner, out of sight; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition which unfortunately still holds connotations of weakness and failure. This mental illness, commonly associated with the armed services includes depression, feelings of anxiety, panic attacks and substance misuse, most commonly alcohol.
Alcohol drowns out the trauma and feelings of inadequacy caused or aggravated by the soldiers’ experiences. A cycle of self-abuse is established with the victim deteriorating further into their mental illness. Their addiction affects how they cope with the world, their family and their health.
The bed linen, wrapped and twisted represents the human passage of time, as a bodily journey with its internal conflicts. The sculpture is supported and wrapped throughout and hoisted towards the sky-light, yet sagging from its own weight, it slumps between the walls. Despite all this care from their family, the veteran still manages to break away and tumble to the ground. Families are also casualties of this mental illness as they try to contain the addiction behind doors while living with the victim’s unpredictability.
All the work references PTSD alongside the culture of music from the troubles in Northern Ireland to the present in Syria.