Tag: Healing

The Future of COVID-19

Written by Chandler Elkins

The future generations that are currently being impacted by COVID-19 share their thoughts on the pandemic. Video by Jerrod Niles

Over the past year, educators and students alike have faced unprecedented changes in how they go about their education. No one has been able to keep Coronavirus out of their mind over the past few months, but when the next generation thinks about the future, they’re more worried about doing times tables than getting sick.

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Making Meaning Out of Struggle

Written by Elise Steele

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the city has seen drastic changes in protocol and culture, but the light is at the end of the tunnel as vaccines and routine testing have rolled into the community. Video by Logan Stapleton
Photo by Stephanie Swart

One at a time, students roll up their sleeves and take a deep breath to receive their COVID-19 vaccination shot from the UTC Health Department, a process most of the community found inconceivable a year ago when the University first shut down for the pandemic.

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Casting Resilience

Written by Meagan Alford

Video by Haili Jackson

A massive wooden door waits to be opened as friends and participants gather around a fire burning in the alley way. Alice Waller, with her poodle Fin in hand, greets everyone warmly and opens the door to not a room, but to some place ethereal, some place where magic lives. 

Hundreds of pink and white roses, eucalyptus and baby’s breath are entangled and bursting out of over five hundred body castings–a visual representation of sexual assault survivors and their journey through healing.

 

Photo by Haili Jackson

The name of the installation is a call to victory, as well as a call to action, “I Will Not Let Him Win in Death,” urging onlookers that the fight is not over and there is much more to be discovered and reclaimed beneath the surface. 

“I wanted it to look overgrown,” Waller says, “as if it had been here for a really long time. People speaking out has been around as long as injustice has been around. It’s listening that is new.” 

Alice Waller is a local Chattanooga artist and voice within the community, fighting for the liberation of female bodies. 

Waller sits in the dead center, with her back to her creation and explains the origin story of how this intimate installation came to be. 

“I wanted to do something that was an homage to how my body has experienced sexual trauma but then re-experience it through physical pain. So I started that during quarantine and then I asked my close friends if I could cast them,” Waller says.

Waller began this journey by casting the breasts of 200 women, for the 200 dollars that Jeffrey Epstein paid his victims to recruit other minors to be subject to sexual abuse. While originally, the installation was fueled by Epstein’s crimes, she says that she could never give Epstein that much credit.

On a post made from her Instagram, she says, “the installation is a part of my heart and a part of theirs.” 

“Anytime something like Kavanuagh, or R. Kelly, or Weinstein comes up, you feel this universal groan of survivors — that I have to do something and so it felt really urgent that I had to involve other women and other survivors and make it something where, ‘this is what has made me feel empowered, here you try’ and it grew naturally. After that I hit 200 which was my original goal within 2 months and doubled it within the first month of viewings.” 

As Waller looks towards the final viewings of her installation, she offers insight on moving forward in the healing process of being abused, “it was about feeling safe in my body again because I think what people don’t talk  about with sexual trauma specifically is that everytime you see your own body — you’re revisiting the ways that it’s been abused.”

Waller says that the whole project was to help women who may also feel that way, and to redeem that and feel safe again when they look at themselves. She weighs in that there is something deeply spiritual about having a cast done, as well as physical, once the cast has been lifted off. 

Photo by Haili Jackson

“Each woman who sits across from me shares something that they have never shared before,” Waller says, as she revisits her meetings and interactions with survivors, “they spiritually and mentally get something off their chest and then by the end of the experience they are having something taken off their chest.” 

Waller says she isn’t angry anymore, but a dominant emotion of peace, rest, and joy has taken its place. She believes that people must have grace and patience with oneself during the healing process. She says, “have grace for the ebbs and flows. I’ve just grown in grace and flow through the periods of time where we’re gross and we’re angry and I just allow that now. I’ve developed ways to still include people in my life and not shut people out but let them know that this is a season that I’m in and I allow space for the joy and the laughter.” 

Audio by Sierra Wolfenbarger
Poster by Haili Jackson