'Survivor Personae' is a concept that arose from we two artists, Robert House and Catherine Gomersall, meeting each other through shared networks. We had previously heard of each other, and then we finally met at a workshop just outside Sydney, where we bonded over our shared and differing experiences, perspectives and senses of humour.
Over a period of a year, most of which we were in Covid-19 lockdown in Victoria, we had long conversations and debates on the telephone about our individual experiences of speaking out against sexual abuse. When we met up, we produced photographs in the studio or on location, responding to those conversations, and those we also had with people working in relevant institutions, as well as other members of the community.
The works in this book document ongoing critical discussions about what it means to be a survivor. The series of creative responses explore cultural notions of 'survivor' personae, and for what purpose such personae exist in the public imagination.
'Survivor Personae' will be launched as part of the exhibition 'Out of the Darkness: A Survivor's Journey' at the Art Gallery of Ballarat 1 May to 1 August.