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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Vulva is Chlamydia Positive

Image description: one crochet genital of pink hues is pictured on a white background. Inside the canal is reddened slightly to represent the irritating itchiness of chlamydia

I was 17 when I got chlamydia for the first time. At the time, I was dating someone who one day before going down on me asked me "I don't mean to sound rude, but why does your crotch smell like this?" After pointing this out I simply thought that change in my discharge and odor, plus the slight itchiness and redness were symptoms of a coming yeast infection. Much later the person I was seeing got tested during a physical and let me know they had chlamydia. We had had sex without condoms a few times and never talked about getting tested together.

Chlamydia is a super common bacterial STI that can transmitted through oral and penetrative sex (butt and front (vagina) sex) without a barrier, and child birth. 

Symptoms: lots of STI's share similar symptoms that make it difficult to figure out what is happening. It is also quite common to show no symptoms at all, so getting tested is the best way to know. Some symptoms are: burning while peeing, spotting between cycles, pain in lower abdomen, pain during or after penetrative sex, a change or increase in discharge. 

Treatment: oral antibiotics. if left untreated it can lead to infertility in all humans, pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, pregnancy outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy)

Prevention: there are lots of options! getting tested (yourself and your sexual partner/s), completing antibiotic treatment, having sex with barriers, abstinence (if that's your flex), having sex again once the chlamydia is cleared (to prevent passing it between each other). 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Buzzing Flies: An Incest Purge

pictured in front of a white background, the torso of a mannequin with no arms is painted with dark brown acrylic paint and has a black paper mache afro. locates on the stomach of the mannequin is a large hairy terracotta vulva with white discharge that is surrounded by flies.
Buzzing Flies: An Incest Purge
Medium: Acrylic,terracotta and papier-mache on fibreglass

Content warning: Incest, sexual violence, healing!

Last year was my chrysalis year. Moving into 2016 I felt like a caterpillar, and I kept asking myself if a caterpillar knew, upon creating its chrysalis, what it would emerge as. I had mentioned before that my mental health was a mess. I was shaken to a point where my body, spirit and mind no longer had the capacity to hold onto all of the things I had suppressed within my being, particularly around incest and sexual violence. Moving through/with my cocooning process (marked by lots of crying, confusion, anguish, fear and anger) I made the decision to transmute the energy of shame I was carrying about my experiences into art. It was (and still is) my purging process.

This multi-medium sculpture is a slow descent into madness and a projection of incest. It holds decades of incessant buzzing flies; an internal rotting ensues delusion, repression, anxiety and depression from internalizing shame, disgust, anger, guilt, blame and fear. It is the reality of longing to let go, but the fucked up experience of finding comfort in the familiarity of trauma. Nursing its existence silently out of routine.

It is simultaneously a call to exhale. To sculpt and recreate the possibilities of my existence beyond the limitations of traumatic experiences. Enacting personal power by taking responsibility of my process of becoming, and cultivating a path of love from lessons of pain.

I made this piece for Nuit Rose: A Festival of Queer Art and Performance for Toronto Pride 2016.

two people varying in race and gender are bent down looking at the scuplture
Photo by: Tanya Turton