Pedophilia – An Art Show – and an Offense Committed
02 Jun, 2013
I can only imagine what my friend Dan Haley will do when he hears what happened in Brighton. He will blow a gasket. I hope his blood pressure is not high the day he hears about this one. My reaction was a wee bit different when I was told what happened. But Dan’s may be different.
Who is Dan and why would he care about what happened in Brighton? Well Dan is the Community Chaplain in Peterborough that works with men coming from our Federal Prison system. He works with all kinds of guys (and gals at times) – no matter what they have done. Dan also works with families of the men that have been in prison. And most importantly he works with Victims of Crime. Dan himself and his family were victims of Crime as well.
So what happened in Brighton?
You may remember that I was informed that my “art work” was no longer needed at The Gates Gallery. There was confusion in booking of art work or something at the gallery. Someone made “a mistake” in booking something else when my “art work” was installed at the gallery. I posted something about my own reaction to the news of the short show being over here.
Yesterday we arrived at the gallery to extract my art pieces. As I began the work of taken the things out of the gallery I could only find 5 pieces. I had installed 6 – one was missing. How will I handle this – if one is gone? Stolen? Destroyed? Oh boy…
There was 1.) the old man sitting in his wheel chair, 2.) the old lady sitting in her old chair with her crocheting, 3.) the piece made of the old radio dealing with dementia, 4.) the old suitcase dealing with forced retirement, and 5.) the piece of flooring from beside a Senior’s bed dealing with the horror of dying alone. Five pieces…
Where was number 6, the one dealing with the old man that was the pedophile… the guy that had molested his daughter from 8 years old until she was in her teen years?
It is the one that is a Senior’s real story. It happened when she was so distraught when she talked to me about her 92 old dad that had done these terrible things to her when she was so young. It was a real Senior’s story, a valuable story, a seldom told story, a story never spoken about… until that horrible day when she talked to me about what had happened.
The piece of art telling her story was completed months after her 92 year old father had died. After I created this piece I called the Senior lady to come and view it before I showed anyone else. She walked around this piece and wept. Then she came and gave my wife and I the biggest hugs… telling me that, “Now someone else will know my story. Now maybe it will help someone else…”
When our friend expressed what she felt about the art I knew that it was done well and tastefully – dealing with a hidden and horrific past of one beautiful lady. I knew that I could now release it to the world. And I did. And many people have seen this and discussed it openly.
Back to the gallery in Brighton…
After removing some of the five pieces that were in the gallery… I approached the lady that was working at the gallery and asked what happened to piece number 6. She carefully told me that it had been removed from the gallery about 6 days after I installed it. It was in the back room laying by itself… evidently so no one could see it.
To say I was a little astonished is putting it mildly. Was it broken? It was lying on the floor when I placed it in the gallery… the way that it has to be looked at. It is something that people walk around and look at while it lays on the floor.
Together we walked into the back room and there was the piece laying on the floor partially disassembled. The two columns that hold the obituaries for the man lying in the sculpture were taken down and were face down on his body. No one could see him in that back room… his story was safe there.
The lady standing beside me could kind of tell my reaction I am sure when she explained what had taken place. One of the members of art community of Brighton had viewed the piece, taken in the story and reacted to it – in a negative way… and had insisted that it be removed because it “offended” her… or maybe it was that it might have “offended” someone else… or whatever. The message of the piece about “Harry” had made her react in very strong ways… and she wanted it out of there! So to the back room it went and stayed there until yesterday.
My reaction to the lady standing with me was, “That is what was supposed to happen with this. It was designed to make people think and then deal with the topic.” I stood amazed at what had happened. I spoke again and said, “At least some got to see the work and hear her story… it did its task for some.”
At that point I was a little buzzed out having just heard that what I had made had offended someone. I was more than a little miffed that someone considered themselves as my Judge and Jury – pronouncing me (and what I had made) guilty and offensive… and that they dared to think that this Senior’s story was something that they could judge offensive!!!!
The Art Show that I had produced was not supposed to be nice, or cute, or soft and cuddly – it was telling the stories of what happens in Senior’s Worlds – and it isn’t always pretty… it is abusive, it is neglected, it is treated with the greatest disrespect anyone will ever know… and all that is kept quiet by people that might be offended.
Now I am worked up again. I simmered in the van as I drove home. How could anyone do such a thing!?! Take something out and away because they were offended… WHY? Then my mind and thoughts moved over to sorrow… and horrible feelings again… the possibility that the person viewing the Senior Lady’s story knew of a similar story and couldn’t deal with the thoughts. Maybe they too knew way too much and had personal dealings with this kind of thing happening in their own family…?
As I came home yesterday… I thought of other artists I know. I thought of artists in Brighton that might be showing their art work in the gallery… and that the topic they deal with might just cause someone to react… and maybe someone will take their picture off the wall and stick it in a back room… so no one will be offended. Sure I was wounded as well as being upset about the possibility that another Senior has suffered the way that my friend had suffered those years ago.
This posting is way too long. Please understand that it is hard to tell you what happened without using a bucket full of words. I am sorry.
I do apologize to the lady in the gallery that fateful day when you were offended… or maybe thought someone else would be offended. It was not meant to hurt you… or make you upset… or to reveal anything. It was there to tell the story of one lady that needed help and no one would listen.
Why would Dan Haley be upset… the person I mentioned at the beginning?
Well Dan has to deal with families that have gone through this kind of crime. He sees and hears of the years of secrets that were kept – which enabled the pedophile to keep on messing with the helpless children in his world. Dan deals with the people left behind after the crime is committed, after the court case found the old guy guilty, after the guy goes to prison and even after he comes out. And Dan knows that people cover these things up. Dan knows… and Dan has dealt with people, families and criminals that come from a place not far from The Gates Gallery in Brighton.
Yep even nice, pretty, beautiful, elegant, old and sophisticated Brighton has horrible stories hidden from everyone.
I want to close this with a ‘thank you” to the President and Vice President of the Brighton Arts Council – as well as the Board of Directors… and wish you all the best in the days to come. Our relationship is likely over. I apologize that I offended any of you… and honestly meant no ill will. I am an artist that was grateful for being given the opportunity that I thought you were giving me. You have to live in your community and deal with each other. I don’t.
So as we all move on… have a great whatever is left.
BTW – as a result of “the Brighton reaction” new doors have flown open for my art work. There are a number now that are ready and willing to show all of it… and more. You folk have really helped me big time! Truly – Thank You!