This is an investigation into the deep-rooted ancestral trauma in my family history and a discussion of common themes in the family system such as mothering, childhood, family secrets, violation, betrayal, and tenderness.
My work is an act of self-preservation, fighting against the idea that telling the truth is taboo. I attempt to derive power from vulnerability by creating a poetic response to the horrible things I have seen and also to the evil that exists in my own blood.
Using references from my childhood and family history as a starting point, I am exploring these concepts through painting, drawing, textile, fiber, and collage. Faces and identity are often obscured, because although this work is inspired by my story, I want others to see that they too are represented here, that we are fighting these evils together, collectively ending them.
The role that I give the viewer is that of the witness. Only by having others bear witness can we unroot and end these deep evils. I am asking the viewer to unravel these stories with me, to learn things that I cannot speak out loud.
I wish to inspire others to end toxic patterns and to know that they themselves have the authority to halt generations of trauma. We each have the power to say ‘this ends with me’. Family is not an excuse or an obligation.
I am just asking you to listen.
Maura Walsh is a Chicago-based artist whose work revolves around concepts of the childhood experience, of abuse, paradox, and tenderness.
She works in a variety of media from installation, video, and fiber, to painting and drawing. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbia College Chicago in 2011.