The task at hand is write about my experience with the 10th painting in our Childhood Fractured series. And I find myself warm amid the cold clamor of the day, pensive. This exercise has become what it has become. To give it words would be to speak without a tongue. In the spirit of directness, this exercise has become an act of imitation. I am mimicking the torrential downpour of creative instinct with words. I am, more or less, a conduit, however, nothing as far as it has been written, can be taken as cold truth on this cold day. The only truth is our mission; We want to end the sexual abuse and exploitation of children through contemporary art.
There, in front of my brown eyes, was a canvas primed with black paint. In front of the canvas, Allen. I found him in his usual non-distinct variation of meditation. Cheryl was there. She had cornered herself in. Eyeing it all up. Allen announced, for this session, all his strokes were pre-meditated. The entirety of the piece we were about to witness was outlined in his mind.
First, in the colorful way of things, Allen gave form with orange to shelf that could have been found in the closet of childhood bedroom. He navigated this closet shelf. And he navigated his mind. He was navigating himself. As this portion of the piece was finished his narration of the event no longer functioned in a straight line. He was unable to say what it was he wanted to say. Perhaps, the words don’t exist. Perhaps, that is why he paints.
Allen labored away in unharmonious harmony. The canvas, to my eyes, began deliberating on its own character. And I was none the wiser as to its subject matter. We continued onward in this collective, creative straightjacket. I was blind. I could see. I was deaf. I could hear. I was here. And I was lost. I knew little of what was happening in front of me. Until Allen gave me a colored map.
Allen began giving form to his childhood self. Then Mary, the passive participant, in this scene. They were given to us through strokes of red and orange. Allen said all he can remember is having sex with a 6-year-old child. Do not forget Allen was six years old. The same age as Mary. The commissioner of their act was the older sister of Mary. Allen and Mary were forced to have sex together at 6 years of age.
Here, we will give ourselves an intermission and allow a rumination as to what was just written. Allen, at the age of 6 was forced to have sex with another girl at the age of six. How perplexing is this? In what banal platitude do we occupy that is conducive to acts such as this? Here, more questions will be wrought than answered. And until we tremor ourselves with these questions, answers will be sands in the wind. And we too, will be lost with it.
I could see a shift in Allen’s character. He was falling into a state of morbid reflection in front of me. He began to clutch his hands. His body tightened. Tears began to make their way down his cheeks. I watched one of them splash the floor. Tears that came from memory. Tears have made their way home. Allen hoisted himself back to now. Back to the task at hand. We never know what can be found in the hallways of time.
Allen finished the piece with a sense of guilt. He was hoping people understood what it what it was he was trying to say. Trying to paint. I admonished Allen. He was hoping the emotional tumult he was putting himself though was worth it. I assured him it was. How difficult is it for one person to convey their experience to another? This I am not sure of. I do know, if I find myself with the answer I will tell you. That is, if I can convey it to you.