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Crucifixion of the Children of Trauma

Artist: Elizabeth Bryant


I chose to depict homelessness and other consequences of unaddressed childhood trauma (self-medication/self-harm). We see the homeless as predators, vermin, fearing and blaming them for conditions resulting from their own victimization, which often took place in childhood.

The primary image came from a dream: the stricken baby, the house on fire, the damaged witness-wolves. The lightening strikes the baby, breaks the heart, cracks the foundation of the house and sets it aflame. I put them all in a blue tarp tent, with the zipper and frame of the tent forming a cross. I included the wolf-witnesses/survivors as hand shadows cast on the tent to signify the difference between a genuine predator and the shadow appearance of a trauma victims/PTSD survivors. I included black icons (a bottle, a hypodermic needle, a used condom, a razor blade) in the corners to show other consequences of trauma: addiction, alcohol abuse, prostitution, self- harm. To me, the image is brutal; I wanted to include the presence of enclosing hands, sheltering above, a safety net below, in a fabric that radiated safety, mothering, domesticity. The fabric is similar to the darker, more somber, blackened fabric of the house. The stitching is crude on the hands, thicker on the lower one, which may serve to cushion the fall. Finally, I wanted to add the swirl of stitching to the fabric over the tent on the right. It may be the cold wind in the night, a swirl in a puddle, the chaotic forces of the external world or of the internal mind.

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