For as long as I remember I’ve doodled, drawn, sketched the heads and faces of three girls. I drew these on the backs of receipts, envelopes, scraps of paper... anything I could find. After drawing, I would discarded these makeshift canvases and begin to draw them all over again.
One day a friend saw me doodling and asked, "why do you stop at the heads? Why not continue drawing the bodies?” I rolled my eyes and thought “I’m an abstract artist, I don’t draw cartoons!”
In that moment I realized how I had restricted my own creativity and self-expression by a simple label I had given myself.
The next day I bought a small sketchbook and started drawing the girls’ non-stop, including their bodies, hands, legs, feet. The girls then multiplied into armies of females. Around the girls I began to create a universe of images and scenes mined from my own memories and dreams that I had long hidden away. Images came out that both shook and calmed me.
This accumulation of drawings was the beginning of The Young Girl Project, a visual narrative of a childhood marked by sexual abuse and the lasting effects on me as a young girl and adult.
Through art, the repeated drawing of the girls and their ever-expanding universe, I retrieved and pieced together the missing parts of my own past, cathartically, as a form of self-expression and empowerment. What begun as a single sketch is now a multi-disciplinary project. it’s aim is to raise awareness, instigate dialogue and educate children to challenge authority and chip away at the power structure that enables abuse to continue.
Through drawings, paintings, film, books, activism and collaborations The Young Girl Project encourages the viewer to overlay his/ her own story, memory or meaning by creating the space for interpretation. By instigating collective recollection a larger and powerful dialogue can begin as people take on their own journey of self-discovery.
Copyright © 2019 Choichun Leung. All rights reserved