Evil Shapes (2017)

A series of non-representational shapes made of satin are folded and placed on a shelf along a wall. The shapes are children’s abstract manifestations of evil. The children were asked to sit in the middle of a sheet of satin and draw around themselves using chalk, a shape that embodied evil to them. The children then cut out the shape and dictated instructions of how the shape should be folded. Viewers are invited to unfold the shapes and handle them. Viewers then follow a diagram of the children’s instructions of how to fold the shapes in order to place them back on the shelves.

In situations involving evil, children are more often than not mere props, cast in the role of victims as either explicit targets or collateral damage. That children are seldom given a chance to participate in any broader discussion of the cultural constructions and structures affecting their lives is particularly true with respect to the concept of “evil,” since, understandably, we choose to shield them from it as a means of preventing trauma and preserving innocence. But with this project I’m questioning whether we need go as far as excluding them from the discourse about it. Whether or not evil is something that exists in isolation of us, whether it is something internal or external - we found it necessary to name it.  The question is why. What does the concept add to our understanding of ourselves and the world? I’m asking the youngest among us, before being socialized into adult conceptions of right and wrong, to shed some light on this.