Sexual Assault: The Roadshow opened its doors at the Scadding Court Community Centre in early June of 2016. Workshops by artist Reesee Zigga Zagga were held weekly. Participants worked with photography; drawing; an exercise in sound as language (with Lillian Allen); and the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi to create art that disrupts notions of sexual assault and responses to it.
Borrowing from the Japanese tradition of Kintusgi – the mending of cherished objects that have been broken with silver and gold paint – rendering them more valuable, beautiful and stronger than before, Toronto artist Reesee ZiggaZagga worked with Sexual Assault: the Roadshow workshop participants to explore a journey of resilience. As part of the workshop, participants were asked to draw themselves. They were then asked to tear their self-portraits into four pieces. Using gold tape on the front or back of the drawing, participants then recreated their portrait to demonstrate and affirm their renewed strength, resilience, and beauty after sexual violence had entered their lives.
Workshop participants were asked to identify and and talk about parts of their body where they held or “remembered” the sexual violence they had experienced. With their full participation and permission, photographs were taken to visualize the reclamation, power and beauty of those places.
The shame of violence and abuse keep many people silent. Workshop participants were asked to complete the sentence “I Reclaim My Voice” as an act of breaking the silence.
Reesee Zigga Zagga takes pictures and is based in Toronto.
In 2012, she founded Reclaim Your Voice, a grassroots organization which creates safe spaces for survivors of abuse to share their stories. Since creating this movement in the name of peace and healing for all, she has facilitated over 25 events, performed spoken word poetry at notable platforms including TEDxRougeRiver, and is a frequent guest speaker at schools where she reminds youth of their own capacities to be agents of change. She is the recipient of the 2014 Yinnergy Award for her work in the Malvern Community, and the 2015 VolunteerToronto Legacy Award.
Reesee’s humanitarian work has helped her connect more deeply with the people who get in front of her camera, resulting in unique photography work that speaks to the soul.