Olivia Pridemore is a multi-dimensional artist based in Nashville, TN. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Silver Needle Press and teaches writing courses at Austin Peay State University. Her works have appeared in Portland Review, Permafrost, Sand Hills, Bridge, The Ocotillo Review, The Raw Art Review, Round Table, Ampersand, and elsewhere.
se(7)ven years gestation is a visual series that grapples with the reality of childhood trauma and its subsequent effects. Back in August, I began working with two sisters who were displaced from their childhood homes after growing up around the influence of drugs and witnessing domestic abuse. Both women experienced severe emotional abuse and neglect, and their atypical childhoods made it difficult to assimilate into a society that shows little empathy for others.
Despite encountering identical traumas, both women developed drastically different coping mechanisms. I worked extensively with each individual to cultivate transformations that accurately represented their unique approaches to handling childhood trauma. For Phase three of the series, I was inspired by the iconic scene in the movie, Signs, where Joaquin Phoenix and his niece and nephew construct tin foil hats to prevent alien mind control.
“Phase 3: swing away” is all about minimizing external Influence, whether it be from family, friends, authority figures, or peers. For the elder sibling, I designed a more angular, combative helmet, better suited for practical use. She is coated in silver, a metal known for its conductivity. Just as silver retains and transmits heat put into the system, the older sister matches and reflects malice and disregard directed toward her. She channels her pain by resorting to cutting and defensive behaviors. The younger sister’s helmet is more absurd because its function is to obscure. I chose the color gold for the younger sister because it is a malleable metal. Since she is so easily influenced, she protects herself by reducing external input. She finds sanctuary in remaining out of touch with herself and the world around her.
Since this series deals with childhood trauma in such an intimate way, I felt that it was import to choose locations that were intimately familiar to the models. All photos in Phase 3 were shot behind local businesses in the Springfield, TN town square, a mere five-minute walk from their childhood home. Both women were thankful for the transformation process as a means to impose symbology; they now have a more tangible means of viewing and understanding their collective experiences.