Artist: Susan McGinnis Hardie
Survivor/Poet: Alexandra Mitchell
Medium: Windows, glass mosaic, cement: 29 x 21 x 21
Artist’s Statement: “The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.” This line from Hemmingway expresses the central message of this piece and the universal message of strength and hope that can arise from an experience of sexual trauma. The old windows and cracked cement floor tell of tragedy, brokenness, and vulnerability… trespassed innocence now locked away. The saturated red interior and explosion of glass in the mosaic speaks of a bold hope and healing… “forged by fire” into newness. As I spoke with Alex, read her poetry and listened to her journey, I was reminded of the Japanese tradition of Kintsukuroi, the art of piecing together broken pots with melted gold. Through this technique, strength and beauty restore that which might otherwise be discarded or abandoned.
Likewise, in this piece, the broken sections of the cement foundation are filled with a mosaic of colorful broken glass, transforming brokenness into beauty. In the final step of this creation, I burned excerpts from Alex’s poem, Forged by Fire, into the top edges of the window frames. The words express Alex’s sustained struggle over time and, like a ‘match to kerosene,’ her breaking forth into a new place of hope and strength. This work of art attempts to tell her story as a survivor now stronger at the broken places.
“What gives me hope? Seeing people turn the tide in believing survivors. The voices of survivors working together to take down abusers and systematic oppression of survivors.” — Alexandra