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‘This is post-traumatic growth’: how one artist painted over her rape

A temporary installation by the US artist Shannon May Mackenzie, ‘Rotatio’ was, in her words, a work of ‘post-traumatic meditation, realisation and growth’. Over the course of two weeks, Mackenzie drew hundreds of small lines and, between them, words describing memories of the night she was raped. She then painted over the piece entirely. Motivated not by anger but by a healing process that includes striving for acceptance, Mackenzie sees ‘Rotatio’ as a way to purge herself of disquieting fragments of her past. The title of the work comes from Thomas Moore who wrote: ‘All work on the soul takes the form of a circle, a rotatio.’ The US director Ian McClerin’s brief yet powerful short documentary on the installation explores Mackenzie’s motivation and process for this work, and in doing so raises thought-provoking questions about art’s potential to help victims of trauma.

Director: Ian McClerin

24 February 2017

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