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Womanhood or Woman's Hurt: The Art of Healing Exhibition, YWCA Brooklyn, NY

The YWCA of Brooklyn, CONNECT to present “Womanhood or

Woman’s-Hurt?” in lieu of Sexual Assault Awareness Month,

April 25, 2014

Life-size art narrative illustrates Visual Artist Frances Bradley’s experience as victim of sexual violence


New York – The YWCA of Brooklyn and CONNECT to present “Womanhood or Woman’s-Hurt?: The Art of Healing,” a solo exhibit by Visual Artist and CONNECT Advisory Board Member Frances Bradley,illustrating her experience as a victim and survivor of sexual violence. The artwork will be on public display – for one night only – at the Ruby Nottage Art Gallery at The YWCA of Brooklyn on Friday, April 25, 2014 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.


“The YWCA of Brooklyn is honored to host Frances Bradley's Womanhood or Woman's-Hurt? exhibit,” said Martha Kamber, CEO and President of The YWCA of Brooklyn. “We admire her courage and her strength to speak out about her personal experience with sexual violence.”


“Art is my highest form of communication and has helped me express some of the most painful experiences in my life,” said Visual Artist Frances Bradley. “The purpose of Womanhood or Woman’s-Hurt? is to empower and ignite communities by providing a safe haven for other women to share their stories, generating conversations about sexual violence and to promote healing through the arts.”


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one in five women have been raped in their lifetime and almost 30 percent of those rapes occurred between ages 11 and 17. And according to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual assault victims are more likely to suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, and contemplate suicide.


“Frances, as a multi-talented artist and survivor, demonstrates the resiliency and healing powers of the human spirit,” said Quentin Walcott, Co-Executive Director of CONNECT. “The artwork in this series is a revealing and powerful testimony to the experiences of girls and women who we share the world with, and who we have failed knowingly and unknowingly by lack of an appropriate response to sexual violence. We congratulate Frances in sharing her-story through her-art that she created, which transforms the YWCA gallery space into a healing space for individuals, families and communities to explore how to interrupt cycles of sexual and gender based violence.”


The series details Bradley’s personal experience as a victim and survivor of sexual violence and visually shed’s light on what occurs before, during, and after sexual assault. The title and nature of the artwork of Womanhood or Woman’s-Hurt? alludes to the high prevalence of sexual violence and how it has become an emotionally, physically and psychologically detrimental form of initiation into womanhood.


 “The YWCA is dedicated to ending all forms of violence against women and Ms. Bradley is a champion leading the way for other survivors to feel empowered. Using art as a healing medium, Ms. Bradley has created a powerful testament, not only on the impact of sexual violence, but also as a path toward healing and ultimate self-realization,” said Kamber.


The life-size artwork ranges in size from 3 x 6 to 5 x 6 feet and is painted with traditional mediums such as oil and acrylic on stretched canvas and features collaged poetry taken directly from Bradley’s therapy journal. The art show will feature five pieces titled, CapturedBrokenZipUnzip and Transformation.


For more information about Womanhood or Woman’s-Hurt? visit For media inquiries contact LaToya English at 517-862-5437 or via email at




Womanhood or Woman's-Hurt? is a 12-piece autobiographical art series that illustrates Frances Bradley's experience as a victim and survivor of sexual violence but it is every victim's story. The series was conceptualized during therapy and has helped Bradley heal through artistic expression.


The life-size artwork is painted with traditional mediums such as oil on stretched canvas and features collaged poetry taken directly from Bradley's therapy journal. The purpose of the Womanhood or Woman's-Hurt?  is to create conversations about sexual violence, its impact on the victims and to promote healing.



Frances Bradley is a visual and performing artist from Flint, Michigan. As an Illustration major, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Shortly after graduating, Bradley worked for the world renowned Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia and as the Exhibition Coordinator for The African American Museum in Philadelphia.


Bradley has been recognized for her visual artwork by the National Conference of Artist in Philadelphia and received the Artist Legacy Award. She was also awarded studio space through 40th Street Artist in Residence (AIR) Program.


Bradley's strong passion for social change through the arts, inspired her to create The Murals for Flint Project - a project-based organization dedicated to teaching diverse forms of art to at-risk youth in the city of Flint, Michigan. The program features art designed to visually enhance impoverished communities. The Murals for Flint Project was awarded the Ruth Mott Foundation Share Art Mini Grant.


Her art has been featured in the exhibitions Life After Death: The Persona That was or Is Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Sex Crimes Against Black Girls. It has also been published in Ghubar Magazine, an online, International fashion magazine based in Paris, France; and Hycide Magazine, a New York subculture magazine. Her commissioned works can be seen in homes across the world.



CONNECT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating interpersonal violence and promoting gender equity. CONNECT believes that to end violence against women and girls, we must challenge and transform the conditions that allow it to occur. Thus, our approach is grounded in an ongoing commitment to addressing root causes and to confronting the way intimate violence both shapes, and is shaped by systemic violence and structural oppression. We cast a bright light on the way the dynamics of power and control work to create and sustain violence, and strategize to resist and transform them.  Through our extensive activities, CONNECT empowers individuals, social service professionals and community and religious leaders with the tools and training to create a more peaceful society free of family and gender violence.



The YWCA of Brooklyn is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The YWCA of Brooklyn provides safe, supportive affordable housing for single women, health programs to diminish healthcare disparities and barriers to access, and social justice initiatives that seek to increase tolerance and cultural awareness throughout the Brooklyn community.

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