Frozen Memories 2018 - 2019
After trauma the world becomes divided between those who know and those who don’t. What has happened cannot be undone but what can be dealt with are the imprints of the trauma on body and mind. This work shines light on individuals who fought back childhood sexual abuse and worked their way out back to life.
Greenland, world’s biggest island almost entirely covered with ice, is isolated from the rest of the world, as well internally - cities are not connected by roads and plane or boat tickets are extremely expensive and unaffordable for majority of population, especially indigenous. The Arctic island has in the past 50 years developed at lightning speed, transforming itself from a traditional community of fishermen and hunters to a modern society. Yet every settlement is still formed mostly by variations of close and distant bonds putting the society in big family relation to each other.
The drama of abuse is that social taboos make it invisible for other people's eyes, while affecting abused individuals who see themselves altered, different from others, filled with guilt and shame for the violence they received. The statistics on sexually abused children in Greenland is alarmingly high, and researchers admit that it is extremely challenging to get the real dimension of the problem due to unique social structure.
The idea of frozen portraits was inspired by the nature of Greenland and psychological state of mind known as freeze response common between sexually abused children. Ice melting from the portraits symbolically liberates survivors from isolation and shame they were carrying for their predators throughout the years.
For every person in the story there is a specific method of freezing and melting the print based on the individual process of going through the trauma.
The process of natural thawing out the ice may take considerable amount of time reflecting the real process of dealing with the trauma - that has no distinct "finish line”.