Next month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and one Austin artist is looking to bring a particular issue to light. Karen Hawkins has made it her mission to bring awareness to the true scale of child sexual abuse with her newest installation, The Pink Bow Project. This instillation will open on April 13st at Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, Texas and run through mid-May.
A massive multimedia work, The Pink Bow Project is designed to engulf its audience. Viewers are confronted by more than fifty 9-foot tall fabric panels, each covered in one thousand pink hair bows, the ubiquitous symbol of a girl’s childhood innocence. 52,000 of these bows will be displayed, representing the number of substantiated child sexual abuse cases reported annually according to Child Protection Services agencies.
As you make your way through the gallery space, navigating through the thousands upon thousands of represented childhood victims, an audio component begins to pull you deeper into the space, where viewers will hear recordings from hundreds of childhood sexual abuse survivors reclaiming their voices. In solidarity, unified through experience, a crowd of voices is talking. Then, from the crowd, a voice comes forward, simply stating their name and age, and fades back into the crowd as another voice comes forward. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself, the first voice will be Hawkins’ brave statement, “My name is Karen. I was ten years old.”
Fellow survivors from all over the U.S. are invited to anonymously participate in the project. To have your voice heard, head over to the Pink Bow Project website to participate in the Make Your Voice Heard initiative and record your voice. https://www.thepinkbowproject.com
“Through years of therapy, and understanding by a loving and compassionate partner, I reclaimed the voice that was taken from me as a young and innocent child. This new work is part of my mission to provide a voice to those who have remained silent,” Hawkins said.
For those hoping to take a piece of the installation with them, Hawkins will create small hair bows for purchase. Proceeds will be donated to the Center for Child Protection, an organization that works everyday to end the cycle of child abuse through advocacy, education and community support.
Gallery Shoal Creek is located at 2832 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd #3 in Austin, TX 78702 and you can learn more about Karen Hawkins here: http://www.karenhawkinsart.com.