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Student art show to explore the process of healing from trauma

A multimedia art show focused on the process of healing from traumatic experiences will open Friday at Splash Creative offices in the Broad Avenue arts district and will include the works of University of Memphis students Natalie Eddings and Annalee Elmore.  

The show will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4th through 15th, according to a press release from Memphis Area Women’s Council (MAWC).

Splash Creative, a local ad agency, and MAWC are co-sponsors of the art show and share office space at 2574 Sam Cooper Blvd, the press release said. The artists will greet viewers at the opening reception, which is free to the public, on Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The show is titled “Object (n)/Object (v).â€Â 

“The show evolved from the desire to do a film that showed the healing process of our friend Abby’s experience of sexual assault,†Eddings said.  

Eddings described “Object (n)/Object (v)†as a “photo-sculptural installation,†and broke down the title’s words by definition. 

“Object (noun): a material thing that can be seen and touched — object (verb): to express one’s opposition to or disagreement with something,†Eddings said. “The show is broken up into sections, with an intentional order.â€

The order will showcase “various emotional stages contained in being traumatized, coming to realize that trauma has occurred and our reactions to the trauma,†Eddings said.

Elmore and Eddings, along with local artist Abby Meyers, have been working on the concept behind the show for about a year.

Jeff Carter assault art illustration

“Abby came to me and asked me if we could make a video about healing from traumas,†Elmore said. “While we were working on the show, Abby and I were also writing about our own experiences, namely in the form of poetry.â€

Elmore said the poetry helped her “organize and release†emotions and provided a way for her to tell her story without having to be overly vulnerable.

“Abby and I both decided to create poetry zines and display them during the show,†Elmore said.  

Elmore said one of the art mediums she works with is glass cups.

“When filled with water, shining light through the cups creates shadows that are intricate,†Elmore said.  “Abby wanted to cast the shadows onto her skin.  The idea was to convey different emotional processes that we have personally gone through in facing our traumas and healing from them.  Abby came up with colors that represented these different emotions, as well as bodily movements and expressions that could be associated with certain moods.â€

Elmore said she and Eddings created a lot of the physical pieces included in the show.  

“We wanted to be experimental in displaying the photographs, and Natalie came up with some creative solutions,†Elmore said. “We made five steel stands with photographs suspended beneath the glass tops, and resin poured on the glass to warp the images of Abby below. We also made seven wooden light boxes that house images of various women and their body parts, as if being inspected.â€

Elmore said she came up with an idea that used metal piping and chains hanging from the ceiling, and had a set of glasses and flashlights inside to “create a specific environment for people to play with the lights and color, become mesmerized by the materials and see the effects of it for themselves.â€

Elmore said the group hopes others will come to enjoy the results of their efforts.  

 The months of preparation that have gone into creating the show have developed her and the other artists into “better healers,†she said.

“Creating art about healing and trauma has deepened our understanding of this universal process,†Eddings said. 

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