From Fractured to Fairytale

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Obsessed by a fairytale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace…..Eugene O’Neill

On the 1st May this year, I opened my very first solo exhibition.  It’s called From Fractured to Fairytale and is the story of my life told (as the name suggests) in a fairytale.  It’s taken me two years to complete all the work for it, so everything else, such as this blog, has taken a back seat.

To say this has been a healing exercise would be the understatement of the year.  I’ve learned so much about myself and I feel very much at peace with myself and my past.  As much as I’ve tried to hide all my life from the traumas in my past, facing them was so much easier to do in the long run, though it didn’t feel like it at the time.

The story is told in six chapters with each chapter talking about a time in my life when a major trauma happened.  Chapter 1 is about being sexually abused as a child and how I escaped into the Magic Faraway Tree to stop the pain.  Chapter 2 is about domestic violence and how acting on stage helped me to find some peace, if only for a few hours a night.  Chapter 3 deals with the loss of my daughter and from that, there was no escape.  Chapter 4 talks about my battle with mental illness and how learning to accept myself just the way I am, with a mind that doesn’t think as society expects it to, has helped me learn to love myself. Chapter 5 deals with homelessness and never having security of housing.  Finally Chapter 6 is about my battle with breast cancer.

Most of the two years was taken up in the planning stage and arguing with myself as to how much I could share without feeling completely overwhelmingly vulnerable.  Thankfully, the side of me that wanted to deal with all this once and for all won and most of my life has been laid on the line for everyone to see, warts and all.

It is primarily told by fine art / composite photography but there is quite a bit of sculpture put in there for good measure.  It is also an installation, so each chapter has it’s own entity.  You walk through the cover of a book to begin the journey and read the pages which have been hung on the line to dry.. Then it’s onto a theatre where the next chapter unfolds on stage. There is a grief room and a circus, a park bench and finally, a magical forest where a poison apple sits in a glass coffin.  There is also a song written for the event which talks of my childhood.

The reactions have been the most inspiring part of this for me.  People walk through and I can hear chatter, then quiet, then a bit more chatter then silence.. Finally I can hear laughter again.  I can tell where they are by their reactions.  Many have come through crying.. while others ask me if it’s wrong that they feel joy.  Every reaction is valid and will depend on a person’s own experiences.

There are so many hidden clues in there about my life but not everyone will notice them.  There is so much to see that I understand that lots will be missed.  But the conversations at the end of it are exactly what I had hoped for.  People want to talk about it and that is the best compliment I could have.  It was always meant to start conversations.  Unless we talk, we can’t possibly understand or heal.

This body of work has forced me to talk, to myself (ad nauseum) and to others.  I’ve had to explain the concept and the story and how I felt and how I continue to feel.  And it has been so cathartic.  I would recommend it to everyone.  Of course it won’t be how I told mine but find a way to tell your story.  Writing, acting, song, painting, photography, lego building…. I don’t care how.. just tell it.   You’ll feel so much lighter for having done it.

The exhibition is currently showing at Wild Valley Art Park, 321 Blaxland Road, Wentworth Falls, NSW and is in it’s last week.  You’llHopefully, now that this exhibition is coming to an end where it is, I can get back into the habit of writing on here.  I miss my blog but it’s always waiting for me to return when I’m ready.  I’ll leave you with the song that I wrote and sang for the story.  If you click on the photo, you’ll be able to see the clip.  The music was composed and produced by Richard W Adams, a talented Blue Mountains artist.  The images are from the exhibition.

Happy viewing….. Livvy xxx

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Cry Baby

 

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