Rape is not just the use of force with a sexual element – it is the violation of a person’s mental and physical being. Art has largely failed to acknowledge the dual impact of sexual violence on its victims. In a radical departure from the artistic canon of the past, Peter Goggins and Rekha Kodikara, have created a “moving painting” that plunges the viewer into the personal experience of a woman transforming into a victim of rape.
Visual representations of rape in the past have been largely limited to the physical such as Kathe Kollowitz’s Raped (1907), which depicts a vulnerable human form. Frieda Kahlo’s gruesome A Few Small Nips (1935) exposes the hidden desires of a man who tortures his girlfriend before murdering her. Rape for many art historians will bring to mind Poussin’s Rape of the Sabines (1630s) or Titian’s Rape of Europa (1560s), where the use of force is subsumed by heroic acts. The overall effect is to diminish our ability to empathise with a victim, as the images fixate on the physical manifestations of power.
The exhibition begins with the first in an intended series of 7 art installations and tackles the most common perception of rape - stranger rape. In fact, most sexual violence perpetrators are known to their victims.
The oil paintings in the exhibition have been created by Peter Goggins over a decade and connect with the theme of the film.
Peter Goggins is an artist from Evesham who graduated with an MA in Fine Art from the University of Gloucester. He has held exhibitions at the Royal Academy, South Bank Gallery and various solo shows in and around Worcestershire.
Rekha Kodikara is a criminal barrister with 16 years of working towards justice for victims of crime. She has dealt with hundreds of cases of sexual violence. She writes both prose and poetry on social issues.
Please be advised that the film presented in this exhibition contains adult imagery. *