Happening in and around the White Cube this week…

Expressing trauma through creation, of any form, is healing – How Karina Lafayette is writing and directing her way through trauma. 

Inspired by classics like Charlie Chaplin and Stanley Kubrick, Karina Lafayette has been chasing her dreams of filmmaking since she was a teenager. Following her studies at Dawson College, Lafayette studied in Concordia’s film department until 2015, when she was forced to work full-time, dropping out for personal reasons.

She had the opportunity to create several short films, all published on her Youtube channel, Carus Productions. Among those are a series of vlogs and video diaries, tutorials, and responses to events taking place in popular culture, including a short romantic-comedy, titled A Good Man (2014) and experimental short, Give Me a Smile (2017.)

After creating a documentary about the 2012 student strikes in Quebec, Lafayette made the decision to move to Toronto. There, she began doing short term work in the industry, serving popcorn at film festivals and freelancing on various sets, where she met her now ex-husband.

It was during this time that Lafayette began writing poetry, which would eventually become her first book, Queen of Hearts. She wrote in order to process her experiences. Her relationship, once idealized, was beginning to become increasingly toxic.

Her work speaks to the emotional abuse she experienced while juggling her hopes and dreams for her career, and her relationship. 

About a year after the couple separated, Lafayette lost everything, turning to the streets and shelters with her dog.

Following Queen of Hearts, Lafayette began working on a second project to continue documenting her story. Persephone Rises, available Oct. 16, is a first-hand account of empowerment and perseverance. The name draws from the Greek myth of Persephone, the goddess of vegetation, and Hades’ wife. Persephone’s story is one of unwitting love. Hades, ruler of the underworld, set his sights on her, keeping her as his lover and prisoner in the dark depths. To keep her there, Hades feeds Persephone pomegranate seeds, binding her to him.

It was in this story that Lafayette found comfort, a character that she could relate to. Expressing trauma through creation, of any form, is healing. An article written by artist Terry Sullivan in The New York Times elaborates on four steps to use art to process trauma. Choose a medium you are comfortable with and work when you feel relaxed, don’t be hard on yourself, date and document your work to keep track of your progress and finally, be selective of who you show your work to.

If you are experiencing trauma you would like to express in a safe space, visit the pop-up zen den in the Counselling and Psychological Services room 300-22, Guy-De Maisonneuve building (1550 De Maisonneuve W.)

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