Statement - Missing Women


Betty Kovacic gallery
Betty Kovacic Art.


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As the daughter of Yugoslavian woman who survived the Nazi Concentration Camps I am profoundly influenced by her stories of horror and torture. The Nazis did more than kill millions; they also subjected many young women to prostitution, forcing them to satisfy the sexual desires of higher ranked officials. Women who refused were tortured to death in front of the other women. I have met women who endured, and survived all of these events

I also remember my sense of loss and the bewilderment that occurred when my childhood friend became entangled in sex work when she was twelve. Years later I was horrified to read that Debbie’s 14 year old daughter had been brutally murdered. Due to her life on the streets and probable involvement with drugs, people seemed indifferent to this lost child’s death. Little was done to catch the killer(s). Her murder still remains unsolved.

I have always been aware of the unimaginable events that can occur when a group of people become marginalized, objectified and dehumanized. Knowledge that the human condition frequently embraces violence, along with my earlier experiences has profoundly impacted my art. This cognizance has informed the content of much of my work, some of which deals with the events just described.

The issues around Vancouver’s Missing Women have been the focus of my art for the last six years. I have been compelled to deal with issues that have impacted the lives of so many, including my own. I have created an installation that provides opportunity for movement on an intellectual, emotional and, perhaps spiritual level to a plane where the shared commonality of humanity is not limited by social constraints, life circumstances, or geography. “A Roomful of Missing Women” is a non-site specific installation that symbolically restores each woman’s identity and individuality while acknowledging her intrinsic human worth. Addi tionally, it acts as a reminder that while all humanity shares the trait of dreams and goals, these women will never have the chance to realize them.

My fascination with the human condition has, and continues to inform the content of my creative process. My passionate concerns about social issues, the marginalized segments of society, world events, and the human condition have converged with my desire to explore the format of a complex installation. I have communicated the enormity of loss while honouring each woman’s humanity in “A Roomful of Missing Women” I have created a physical, visible, sound filled space that integrates and expresses a socio-political consciousness within the format of a conceptual installation.
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