CHICAGO—Whoever first said “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” lied to themselves and others. Emotional scars left from harsh words remain long after broken bones have been healed.
That’s the point Chicago native and emerging artist Nikki B will express during her first exhibition titled, “Words Scar.” to be held August 14 at Room 43 located 1039 E. 43rd St. in Chicago. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a special presentation at 7:30pm.
“Words Scar.” is a collection of photography that reveals the verbal abuse on children. “The words we use have left our children scared and in most cases slaves to the words. Words are powerful and once spoken have life and find themselves attached to people, in this case our children, our future,” she explained.
In 2009, Nikki B. established "ʺGreyMatter Photography"ʺ with a mission to use her unique eye and photojournalist style to capture OMG ("ʺOh my God"ʺ) moments. She specializes in event photography, portraits and boudoirs. But she yearned to do something more meaningful with her talents. Seeking to provide a solution to urban violence, Nikki began this exhibition project to provide Chicago’s youth with a platform which will allow them to speak and from which their voices will be heard.
She recently began talking to and photographing youths aged 6‑21 years old, with the hopes of documenting their voice through photography.
“The generation that’s hurting has the tools. The answer lies in young people. The challenge was to get them to talk. I wanted to be a platform to put a visual to their perspective. Then I take that to adults in an artistic way,” she said.
Through this project, she intends to reveal the power of words and the scars they leave on our younger generation. “One by one, I asked them to do a simple task. Write down every word you have ever been called. Unsuspectingly, the lists of words were all negative. I assumed certain words would show up, but there were words that I couldn’t imagine being called,” she said.
“As each child gave me their list, we spoke briefly and I watched their body language and how anxious they were to shoot. Some were bashful others ready to have fun. Then I decided to take those words and mark the children’s bodies with them. We wrote the words on their bodies and I prepared to shoot them. Then it happened… right before my eyes. As the words were written on their bodies they transitioned into desolate vessels. The words seem to strip them of the smiles they had minutes before. It was as if the words, whether spoken or written still had power over them. The power of words was present.
For more information, go to WordsScar.com