Hidden Yearnings, Family Shadows - Heriantovie L.
This artifact tells of a family cohort that endeavors to shield their hydrocephalic son from societal scrutiny. After three decades, amidst continued protection, he confronts sexual dysfunction. Undeterred, he valiantly embarks on a nuanced exploration of his sexuality, navigating societal taboos to fulfill desires for relationships, sensuality, and self-discovery.
I chose this artifact because it encapsulates a profound narrative of resilience and self-discovery. The artwork visually articulates the protagonist’s life which contains happiness, sadness, bitterness, and pain. The pain stemmed from an early unknowing of his disabilities, particularly hydrocephalus. With all the familial love, cultural shaming, and internal dilemmas, his delayed mental development, gait disturbance, and intellectual disability cast shadows on a life curtailed. Despite the adversities stemming from delayed understanding and cultural taboos about speaking about sexuality in the family, the protagonist’s strong will emerges as a central theme. He is the center of his life, his choices, and his desires. The painting becomes a narrative of overcoming disability, embracing self-discovery, and ultimately, navigating the delicate balance between love, shame, and the desire for a fulfilled life, life that explores sexuality. Realizing sexuality transcends intercourse, he discovers fulfillment in activities like dancing with a partner. Embracing his disability, he finds diverse paths to enrich his sexual experience, recognizing the varied facets of life as a sexual being.
I am interested in Disability and Sex because the subject expands my foundational knowledge of sexuality. Integrating insights into gender and gender identity issues, particularly within LGBTQI+ community, broaden my understanding, albeit from a positionality shaped by limited interaction with this community in Indonesia. This subject exploration has guided me through the intricate layers of sexuality, delving into Five Circles – a holistic framework encompassing sexualization, sensuality, identity, sexual health, and intimacy of sexual person.
This project underscores the imperatives of acknowledging the sexual justice that my sibling, a woman in her mid-20s living with hydrocephalus, rightfully deserves. This initiative serves as a catalyst for personal growth, prompting me to assume a more proactive role in fostering an environment where discussions surrounding her sexual well-being are not only encouraged but actively initiated. The project unveils the complex intersectionality of sexuality and disability, challenging preconceptions and urging a broader perspective.
I hope my artifacts inspire viewers to take the following actions:
- Acknowledgement of sexual personhood to dismantle stereotypes surrounding disability, emphasizing that individuals with disabilities deserve acknowledgment as sexual beings.
- Engage in a sexual positive lens by encouraging discussion on diverse sexual experiences.
- Being askable and creating comfort by creating an environment where individuals, especially those with disabilities, feel comfortable expressing their concerns about sexuality.
- Promoting sexual justice and advocacy