What colour is abuse? Installation “Maria, hidingplace” in de Mariënkirche in Düren, 2013
I am very moved by the particular case of a young boy, Henk Heithuis, who was castrated as a minor for reporting to the police sexual abuse by a priest that he endured while staying in the boarding home. Although the priests were convicted of the abuses, the boy was still transported to a Catholic hospital, and underwent a surgical castration as a treatment for homosexuality and, according to the report, a punishment for tattling on the clergy. It has been proved that he was not the only one.
As an important part of the installation I have painted his portrait twice, dressed and undressed.
Central to this installation will be the object “cloak of love”, inspired by the cloak of the Madonna della Misericordia, a cloak under which children, men and women are protected. The cloak itself measures 285 cm., hanging on an cast iron coat-rack about 300 cm. high, the cloak presented spread out on the floor. The cloak is empty, in it the object "woman's arm " and a left-over damaged toy.
The objects “Womans body” (about 175 cm x 65 x 30 cm) and “Womans arm” (ca. 120 x 25 x 8 cm) and the painting of a naked woman are symbols of the Madonna, stripped of her external powers of care and protection. The table with the blank newspaper stands for the silence about abuse.
I think abuse can have many colours and shades. Sometimes it is white, white is the addition sum of all colours together, it stands for purity, cleaning, innocence, one can wash his/her hands in innocence.
Sometimes it can be red, red is the colour of life and passion, but also the colour of fear, the colour of the devil.
It can be yellow, the colour of spring, activity, life and light, in Asia it is a holy colour, but it is also the colour of hate and envy.
Or it can be blue, the colour of heaven and intuïtion, fairytales, a calming colour, but also the colour of death.
Or green, the colour of nature and safety, but also the colour of poison and creepy monsters.
Even it can be black, the opposite of white, it means the absence of colour. In fact we cannot see black.
Or don’t we still want to see the colour of abuse?