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We Are Not Prey: #MeToo exhibit on display in Peterborough 

  • Artist Campbell Harvey's portrait series on sexual assault silence breakers is now on display at Trumpet Gallery in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Artist Campbell Harvey works on a new piece in her portrait series on sexual assault silence breakers, now on display at the Trumpet Fine Arts Gallery in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Artist Campbell Harvey's portrait series on sexual assault silence breakers is now on display at Trumpet Gallery in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Artist Campbell Harvey's portrait series on sexual assault silence breakers is now on display at Trumpet Gallery in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 8:53PM

Watercolor portraits of the people who came forward with their deeply personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse dangle off a thin string in a back section of the Trumpet Fine Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

Campbell Harvey, who lives in Manchester but is a student at the gallery, created the collection titled We Are Not Prey: #MeToo that is now on display.

Harvey said she drew inspiration for the series from last year’s Time Person of the Year edition titled Silence Breakers. The issue highlighted men and women who broke years of silence and shared their stories of sexual assault and harassment publicly. 

Now, she’s painting portraits of the people who came forward. 

“I greatly admire those who are publicly sharing their stories as they are very brave to face both the shaming voice that women have internalized and the possibility of public shaming commentary and attacks,” Harvey said of the people who have come forward. 

Harvey said she feels particularly connected to the movement because she is part of it. Harvey said she was sexually assaulted for the first time in 1966 while she was attending college. When it happened she said she didn’t realize that she had been violated. It wasn’t until Harvey was working at a rape crisis center later that she made the connection.

“Date rape was not part of the vocabulary,” Harvey said during a recent interview with the Ledger-Transcript. “And sexuality was the women’s responsibility. If you screwed up, you screwed up a responsibility.”

Ever since Harvey said she has been “on the front lines of fighting rape culture.”

Finally, decades later, Harvey feels like those efforts are being recognized, referring to the recent swell of men and women who have shared their stories of sexual harassment and abuse. The wave of people has become ubiquitously recognized under #MeToo. The term was coined by Tarana Burke back in 2006. Last October, the term resurfaced after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted “if you’ve been sexually assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The tweet quickly turned into a movement.

Harvey said the movement feels like a societal shift.

“I feel like we’ve raised a generation of women who are not putting up with what I call the rape culture,” Harvey said.

And while she’s happy that the shift is finally happening, she said it’s late.

“It’s bittersweet because this was the dream 40 years ago,” Harvey said. “It feels  late, but it also feels incredibly profound.”

On display in the gallery intimate portraits of Burke, Anita Hill, and Terry Crews, to name only a few. Earlier in March, Harvey had just finished a series of three portraits of people shared their stories of sexual abuse and harassment while working for the Ford Motor Company. The portraits were complete but hadn’t been hung up in the exhibit yet. 

“This woman talked about having her bottom spanked,” Harvey said while pointing to a picture of Tonya Exum. “This woman had to sleep with her supervisor to keep her hours,” Harvey said pointing to the portrait of Miyoshi Morris. “And this woman talked about how the union wouldn’t help them because they were afraid it would affect their jobs,” she said while motioning toward a portrait of Terri Lewis-Bledsoe.

Harvey said she plans to continue painting portraits of the silence breakers indefinitely. 

Mona Brooks, the owner of the Trumpet gallery, said Harvey’s work has advanced since she first started in on the project.

“Some of her newer stuff is more technical,” Brooks said referring to the three portraits of the three women from the Ford Motor Company.

Brooks said people are invited to come into the store, view the portraits on display, and share their stories. She said there’s a notebook sitting on a small table near the exhibit where people can anonymously share if they feel inclined. Harvey said she is open to painting portraits of people who have experienced sexual assault or harassment if they are willing to publicly share their personal story.

“An ongoing sharing is how cultural shifts happen,” Harvey said.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ ledger transcript.com.