Ruth Schowalter

Statement

I find it appalling that anyone would be robbed of their freedom and dispossessed of control of his or her body. The horrors inflicted on individuals who are “trafficked,” whether it be for sex or labor, are unfathomable to me, a 58-year-old white middle-class woman who is only just now acknowledging my privileges. It is my responsibility from this position of privilege to speak up for those who are shackled and unable to represent themselves, to take actions to stop human trafficking, and to consider how I might play a role in the healing process. This image, titled “IN,” is the outcome of my work as a visual artist and certified leader in InterPlay, an improvisational system that supports each person’s authenticity through movement, storytelling, voice, and shape and stillness. A piece of InterPlay wisdom is that “We are our bodies—in lieu of ‘having’ bodies.” Understanding the trauma human trafficking imparts on people, shattering them body, mind, and soul, I wanted to create an image for survivors, offering them a way back “IN” to themselves. This INvitation back “IN” is for these survivors to experience an INtegration of multiple parts (body, heart, mind, and spirit) of themselves. The iconic figures in this work are personal to my “Cosmos of Hallelujah,” each representing a part of myself. The central female figure is Hallelujah and the way “IN” is through her/my body. It is my hope for survivors of human trafficking that they be restored to wholeness and INvolved with others in our community. Afterall, we are all Interconnected.

WCA Georgia Chapter

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Ruth Schowalter

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