Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

King Creativity at Southwestern

A Disquieting Silence: Paintings by Zabrina Diaz

by Zabrina Diaz

This project consists of a series of figurative paintings that are sympathetic to people who have experienced physical and sexual abuse. My intention is to deal with an issue Freud identified as the “primary process” of seemingly buried traces of infantile thinking that carry over into one’s adult life. I wish to convey these very real, and literally childlike responses to negative/positive stimulus by having adult artist models mimic the poses of abused children. The series is thus meant to reveal the effects of abuse which can be manifested in different forms, e.g. some people are crippled by it and others are able to function successfully in their environments.

I plan to catalyze a bodily, empathetic connection between the viewer and my paintings through utilizing high realism in each painting. To enhance this empathetic reaction of the viewer towards the realistically painted figures, I will also be painting them life size. The paintings will then be hung on the wall according to the proper height of the particular parts of the body in the painting. Each painting is of a certain portion of the figure, in a certain pose. For example, the third painting is of a woman who is seated and is struggling to pull her skirt over one knee. The entire upper portion of the woman’s body (from the chest up) is not included in the painting. Thus viewer will be challenged with the task of discerning the appearance of the rest of the figure, i.e., facial expressions, and posture.

I believe that the former aspects of my paintings will effectively develop a strong and empathetic relationship between the viewer and each painting. Freud’s conclusion that adults remember certain childhood moments and manifest them difficult adult situations is very valuable to understanding the process of human development. Because of my strong feelings regarding the potential effects of physical and sexual child abuse, and the powerful manner in which abuse effects a child’s ability to develop physically and emotionally, I sincerely hope that these paintings will trigger an awareness in each audience member of such suffering that victims of abuse experience as it has with myself over the course of completing each painting.