Free Coloring If I Were
Victims of sex assault resorting to #MeToo posts have been attacked. This made Phoebe Man think empathy is important. She has made three types of line drawings for coloring: “If I were a victim”, “If I were a perpetrator” and “If I were a bystander”. Viewers can put themselves in the shoes of these 3 kinds of people. With reference to the coloring book “Secret Garden,” coloring the line drawings can experience healing and meditation. Besides, this topic needs to be discussed freely, at length. Her studio was opened to discuss the topic and for the public to color the pictures.
Why three different kinds of shoes?
People normally have sexual desires but why someone may sexually abuse? Finkelhor（1984）said there are 4 pre-conditions for occurrence of crime:
1. The potential sexual abuser must have some motivation to have sexual contacts with the victim.
2. The potential abuser must overcome his or her own inhibitions against illegal sexual activity.
3. An opportunity to engage in sexual activity with the victim should arise.
4. The resistance of the victim to the sexual activity must be overcome.
According to Finkelhor’s theory, to prevent crimes effectively, emphasis should be on the perpetrators. He or she is the one who takes the initiative. Is there any way to appeal to the perpetrator’s conscience? How to let them know there are consequences of crime? A generally safe environment and the bystanders’ help are also essential. Does the community provide a safe environment? Can people be informed what they can and should do if they think a crime is about to happen? The potential victims should also be informed. How to strengthen them psychological and physically?
Therefore the art work “Free Coloring If I were” has 3 sets and Phoebe hopes people can have more imagination to visualise themselves as one of these 3 kinds of people.
In addition to the sense of healing the process of coloring can provide, the open studio activity can gather people together to discuss and do something together, which might be able to promote a deeper understanding of the issue. The coloring objects are flowers. Returning to nature can usually generate a feeling of calm. There is space on paper for people to express their views.
Socially Engaged Art
Art can be a process of exploring the self. It takes time to find the answers. For the issue of sexual assault, Phoebe admires #MeToo victims/survivors who have had the courage to tell their stories and she think their words should be valued and supported. For those who are not ready to speak out, they do not need to do so. They should take care of themselves first. Therefore, for this open studio activity, people can choose to simply fill in the color and/or write down their opinion. The title of the work is “Free Coloring” instead of “filling in the color” because the self exists and through art we find and free the original self.
“Free Coloring If I were: Socially Engaged Art by Phoebe Man” is part of Fotan Open Studio 2018.
Event: Fotan Open Studio 2018
Date: 20th, 21st, 27th & 28th January 2018 (Sat & Sun)
Opening Hour: 2pm to 7pm
Location: “Why Not?” Art Workshop – Unit 41, 17th Floor, Block D, Wah Lok Industrial Centre, Shan Mei Street, Fo Tan, N.T.
Inquiry: Phoebe Man
Phoebe Man’s homepage：http://www.cyman.net/
Web site of Fotan Open Studio 2018: http://www.fotanstudios.org/aboutus.htm
Finkelhol, D. Child Sexual Abuse: New theory and research. New York: The Free
Press, 1984. Print.