Matt Kilby

Graduation night

Graduation night image

2021
mixed media on cradled wooden panel
65 x 75 cm

For twenty five years, I have carried shame and guilt around this very event, the night of my graduation from Recruit School. This event has subconsciously shaped my life since it occurred. ‘Look after your mates’ has been a motto for the Navy for many many years. Unfortunately, it seems to be a bit of a ‘talk the talk, not walk the walk’ notion. It is also not particularly accurate for individuals that are somewhat more diverse in nature.

This work is confronting and raw, dark and unpleasant and deliberately so. For me, it is the first time in my art practice that this traumatic event has been the subject. The timing seemed right to speak out in a hope that silence will no longer fuel the power this perpetrator has held over me.

This mixed media work is emotive, it’s triggering, and tells my story through exploration of textures and mediums that are symbolic to me of my pain and suffering. As a nineteen-year-old woman in the military, unfortunately this happens way too often and those scars take a long time to heal. PTSD is not just from ‘war’ or ‘warlike’ experiences.

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