Exhibit Curated by
PAULA LUMBARD + LESLIE BELT
Art Exhibit at the Woman's Building, October, 1979
The art exhibition by adult women and teenage incest survivors examining the secrecy, the pain, and the victimization of their incest childhoods from the perspective of their own healing process. These women know that “stopping the silence about incest stops incest.”
The installation is designed to help the viewer move through the exhibition and gain an understanding of the incest dynamic as it exists through a child victim’s reality. A child that experiences incest must often live a separate reality in the day and another more frightening one at night. This dual reality is graphically designed by the two toned walls.
The walls were split horizontally, the bottom half painted yellow, the top half painted black. Along the border where the colors met, artist Dyana Silberstein ran an endless row of color Xeroxed paper dolls bearing her own face in expressions of anger, fear, confusion, and grief.
One television news producer who came to tape a segment on the exhibit broke down in the taping as the memory of her own molestation came flooding back. Hundreds of people called the hotline and were referred to social services, low cost counseling, and support groups. Mayor Tom Bradley declared the month of October 1979 “Children’s Defense Month.”