Art Project Demands It’s Time To Say We Are Enough!
by Amanda Gill
The We ARE Enough Art Project is centred on telling women’s stories.
We are aiming to photograph 1600 women with their real, lived, trauma filled experiences written on their bodies in bold writing for all the world to see. We want to create the biggest art piece of its kind. We want to start a conversation that doesn’t end and we want people to start thinking about the power of their words. We want people to understand the impact of what we tell our little girls and how it affects the women they grow up to be. We want women to be recognised for who and what they are. We want them to stand proud and strong, brave and beautiful and SCREAM at the world it’s ENOUGH.
One day on a hike to Cape Raoul Christie Cooper and I shared a moment. A BIG light-bulb moment when we realised we both shared a dream of telling stories. Not the pretty sugar-coated kind but the dirty, gritty, blood-soaked kind. We have both lived through very different experiences. Mine is a long tale of infertility, medical malpractice and all the feelings and emotions that come with years of feeling like a failure and not being able to do the one thing I, as a woman, am meant to do. Christie’s is a lifetime of sustained abuse. Physical, sexual and mental abuse that has run through her life in a never-ending pattern. Abuse that started as a child and that never really stopped. Abuse that was not asked for, trauma that was not deserved. We wanted to do something meaningful for ourselves, something to honour the trauma we had both been through. We took our own images in the hopes that it would help our healing and allow us to tell our stories in a way that respected each of us. But it was so much more than that.
How does it work? We came up with a list of words that had been said to us throughout our lives, by all sorts of different people, to make us feel small, cause us pain; make us seem “less-than” somehow. When you look at the images you will see women standing with their arms behind their backs, duct tape covering their nipples and mouths, with writing all over their bodies with fear and hopelessness in their eyes. All these things that we feel and see and are told about ourselves throughout our lives. All these experiences that we have, all these words that are used at us, against us, they all leave a mark, they leave a scar. Scars on our minds, on our self worth, on our skin, on our mental images of ourselves, on the stories that we tell ourselves and on the way we carry ourselves through the world. When we saw our images, we understood the impact it could have. We want to honor women and their journeys in a way that shines a big spotlight on these issues and starts a conversation that doesn’t stop, that can’t be swept under a rug or forgotten.
Who can participate and how do they get involved? We are asking 1600 women to join us in the making of this art piece. We want any woman who feels she has a story to tell to come join us. Our oldest participant, so far, is 75. She was brave enough to come and share her previously untold story. Contact us on our Facebook page @weareenoughartproject, through our Instagram @weareenoughartproject or by email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you an information pack.
What role do projects like We ARE Enough play in helping people living with trauma? The women who have participated so far have walked away with a new found confidence. We can sometimes literally see the healing happening before our eyes. Something changes within a woman when she is seen and heard. As we are writing the words that the women choose on their bodies, our women start to realise how much they have been carrying around. “It’s a lot,” one woman said as she saw her life story covering every inch of her body. And then they get to wash it all away. Scrub those words off your body and let is wash away, run down your body and away, “It’s like washing away the trauma,” another participant stated. It’s powerful. Powerful emotions to help heal from life times of trauma. It’s inspiring to watch. To see a women arrive, nervous and a little scared, to go through the process, that transformation and walk away with confidence and some of her self-worth reinstated. It inspires us every day, and leaves us truly in awe of these beautifully brave women!
What’s next? We need to get on the road! We need support and love and funding. We need sponsorships and or donations and have started a Go Fund Me page to get us on our way.