April 18- June 1, 2012
Opening Reception Wednesday, April 18 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Chanika Svetvilas Jackie Rovner Elizabeth Beittel “AM-DDB”
Fresh A.I.R. Gallery
131 N. High St.
When I thought of the original working title for this group exhibition, “Women
in Recovery,” I considered what recovery meant to me. In some ways “recovery”
weighs with just as much stigma as the label of mental illness. In order for there
to be recovery, there has to be a trauma, illness or breakdown to recover from.
We are left with the binary between illness and wellness. However, I see recovery
as an ongoing process that we all undergo as human beings in this world as
I had my third bipolar manic episode in Columbus, OH that manifested as
auditory hallucinations, delusion, and paranoia that led me to hospitalization
from September 29 to October 8, 2010. Then severe debilitating side effects that
encumbered my ability to walk and talk, slowed my recovery. When I finally was
able to fully participate as a candidate in my MFA art program at The Ohio State
University – the reason why I arrived to Columbus, OH in the first place, I was told
that I would not be allowed to continue to my enrollment as a result of my
behavior. My ability to have distance from my work to actually create was in doubt.
This final indignity of my mental competence called into question was the ultimate
psychological trauma. However, all of these traumas allowed me to build up,
become stronger, self reflect and adhere to my values. In my performance captured
on video, I confront my trauma and way of being that is uniquely me.
I hope that by sharing my recovery, others will feel compelled to share theirs.
Silence can be deafening. I once said that I felt like a silent screaming siren. By
letting go of the pain, there is no longer only the struggle, but the strength of
survival. That is what I hope you hear.
~ Chanika Svetvilas