Within our bodies floating

“Picture some place where you feel safe. Some place you can go to feel good, to feel grounded, to save you from the memories” – Becky Thera

Becky Thera’s exhibition of new work in femlab is raw and suspenseful. The exhibition is both triumphant and troubling; it is a quiet display of loss and reclamation. In the secluded basement gallery in Assiniboia Hall, the viewer is greeted with a display of video screens and cloth prints.

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The video screens depict women’s bodies in water. In three of the screens, these bodies move through water in ways that at first invoke a feeling of drowning and then make it apparent that they are still in control. On a fourth videoscreen, set off to the side,  another body lays in a pool of dark liquid in a bathtub. She barely appears to move and leaves the viewer anxious for something, anything, to happen. The embroidered images on on stained fabric panels are simple yet exuberant portraits of defiance. 

This is an exhibition that is full of contradictions: it is expressive and in-your-face, while also quiet and reflective. These contradictions within the gallery speak to the personal and political complexities of sexual assault, without actually mentioning it directly. This omission is poignant – here, as elsewhere, sexual assault remains nearly invisible despite its oppressing pervasiveness among us.

guest post by Lynsey Race, Gender and Social Justice Studies MA student.

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