Call Them Out was an interactive art installation featured in “In the forests: sexual violence and (y)our environment,” a collaborative art show between feminist run New Fruit art collective and Hey Baby! Art Against Sexual Violence – Portland, ME – July 2017

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Statement:

“This ​piece ​is ​an ​invitation ​to ​explore ​strength ​through ​vulnerability. ​This ​calling ​out ​is ​a release.  ​It ​is ​an ​act ​of ​empowerment ​for ​us, ​for ​survivors. ​ It ​is ​the ​letting ​go ​of ​what ​weighs us ​down. ​ It ​is ​the ​embracing ​and ​uplifting ​of ​ourselves. ​ Radical ​self-love ​is ​a ​practice; ​this is ​the ​practice. ​ This ​piece ​is ​a ​call ​for ​accountability. ​ It ​is ​a ​push ​for ​a ​culture ​in ​which shame ​and ​silence ​around ​sexual ​violence ​are ​eradicated.  ​It ​is ​a ​testimony ​of ​our ​power ​as survivors.  ​It ​is ​a ​shift- ​of ​fear ​away ​from ​survivors ​and ​instead ​placing ​it ​where ​it ​belongs: on ​perpetrators/predators/rapists/abusers.  ​Together, ​we ​fight  this ​monster ​| ​this ​plague ​| rape ​culture. ​And ​we ​survive.”

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Call Them Out ​consisted ​of ​a ​bed ​that ​I ​set ​up ​in ​an ​area ​closed ​off ​by ​curtains, ​so people ​could ​interact ​with ​the ​piece ​independently ​and ​on ​their ​own ​accord. ​I ​hung ​a brief text ​above ​the ​bed, ​sharing ​my ​story ​as ​a ​sexual ​violence ​survivor, ​and ​invited ​the ​viewers to ​share ​as ​well. I ​also ​noted ​that ​the ​headboard ​would ​eventually ​be ​burned ​and ​would cease ​to ​exist, ​other ​than ​in ​a ​short ​documentary ​video ​of ​it ​burning ​as ​a ​part ​two ​of ​the piece. ​ People ​interacted ​with ​the ​piece ​by ​wood-burning ​words ​and ​images ​of ​significance into ​the ​headboard ​of ​the ​bed. ​ Most ​people ​burned ​things ​such ​as ​the ​names ​of ​their rapists/abusers ​and ​phrases ​like ​“dad” ​or ​“neighbor.”  ​Perhaps ​most ​poignant ​of ​all, someone ​burned ​“I ​protected ​the ​wrong ​person” ​into ​the ​top ​of ​the ​headboard. ​ The project ​was ​created ​to ​be ​a ​therapeutic ​release; ​for ​many, ​it ​was ​the ​first ​time ​they ​ever ​felt safe ​enough ​to ​share ​about ​their ​experiences.  ​I ​was ​overwhelmed ​with ​gratitude ​by ​those who ​thanked ​me ​for ​creating ​space ​for ​that ​in ​an ​art ​piece, ​and ​I ​was ​met ​with ​a resounding ​desire ​for ​“more ​spaces ​like ​it.”

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More information about Hey Baby! Art Against Sexual Violence:  ​Hey ​Baby! ​Art ​Against ​Sexual ​Violence ​is ​a creative ​and ​social ​movement ​that ​focuses ​on ​the ​narratives ​of ​survivors ​in ​a ​way ​that exposes ​the ​nuances ​and ​complexities ​of ​sexual ​violence. ​ It ​works ​to ​identify ​the ​impact ​of sexual ​violence ​and ​centers ​survivors’ ​experiences ​through ​making ​art. Hey ​Baby! ​Art Against ​Sexual ​Violence ​leverages ​power ​against ​traditional ​narratives ​and ​myths ​within problematic ​systems, ​such ​as ​patriarchy, ​white ​supremacy, ​heteronormativity, ​and capitalism. ​ This ​art ​engages ​in ​themes ​of consent, ​coping, ​revenge, ​justice, ​vulnerability, mental ​illness, ​survivorship, ​trauma, ​healing, ​etc.
More information about New Fruit: https://newfruit.net/about/manifesto/
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