Art Gives a Voice : By Jess Glover

"I’m speechless! Society is bombarded with posters; pamphlets and people that dictate a need to speak up a need to voice opinions, and a need to tell all our deepest thoughts and feelings. The point when a person is often called to speak is when something is wrong. But the truth is that for someone who is vulnerable and has experienced immense trauma this can be one of the most obstructive things to be asked to do. Trauma is real and raw and can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a severe and debilitating condition. So what role can art play for the sufferer, for those who witness and journey with the sufferer and for those who know nothing at all? Art can be intrinsic in enabling a sufferer to find a voice without words, providing them a freedom without boundaries or rules. Art in a gallery space can bring a human face to an experience, allowing the viewer to engage more deeply. Art is the medium that makes the internal external.

If PTSD were a work of art, how would it look? Glass artist Jacqueline King who is a PTSD sufferer has had it described to her like this.

“Imagine you are a beautiful hand blown glass vase with exquisite colour and form sitting on a sideboard and much admired. When major trauma happens the beautiful glass vase that you are gets knocked off the table and smashes on the floor splintering into thousands of pieces. Most rush quickly to gather the pieces and try valiantly to hold it all together, to appear like they used to be by holding all the pieces together with anything they can. But there is no way to do this of course.”

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