#FacelessNoMore: Sarah Marie Hawkins

By Chantel Elder

Chantel Elder, Editor
Chantel Elder, Editor

There’s no denying that Sacramento’s art scene is having a moment right now, and Sarah Marie Hawkins is one of the women propelling it forward.

Known best for ink drawings, watercolors and being the Mama Bear behind Menagerie – an organization that promotes budding local artists. She’s now on Art Street with her incredibly powerful photography: Faceless.

Faceless (Instagram / Facebook /#faceless /#facelessnomore) is an art installation that provides a platform for 20 women to share their sexual assault in an intimate, vulnerable and anonymous setting.

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“Rape is not a singular physical attack but an assault on all dimensions of a person’s wellness,” said Hawkins. “Sexual assault causes repercussions that become a permanent fixture in the survivor’s life. This project directly documents the repercussions, allowing the viewer to glimpse the rawness of the actual incident, aftermath, shame, blame, support system or lack thereof, and current daily life of the survivors. My hope is for this project to ignite an open dialogue and bring awareness to an upsetting issue that it too often ignored or met with skepticism.”

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The installation is set in a narrow L-shaped hallway. At the beginning, guests are invited to take a strip of red dot stickers and place them on the wall near quotes and images that speak to them.

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“Place a sticker for yourself if you are a survivor if you support a survivor and for any survivors you know. Take one or take many. Each sticker represents another story untold.”

As guests enter the black hallway, bare overhead bulbs illuminate intimate photographs of women affected by sexual abuse and assault. Filling in the space between images are excerpts from each woman’s story.

“The project is intended to be anonymous,” said Hawkins. “The quotes and images aren’t linked to the subject but to all survivors.”

At the bend, viewers reach an installation of small photos and red twine strung from wall to wall. The photos were submitted by some of the over 100 survivors that responded to Sarah’s call for stories.

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“I was worried that no one would step forward, but the response was overwhelming,” said Hawkins. “I asked participants to send a close up of a part of their body. I wanted to represent how their abusers viewed them as an object; how they weren’t viewed as a whole thing.”

The installation opens into the final, wider section of hallway, where a handful of complete stories are shared, along with positive survivor quotes, and a display of WEAVE (primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County) handouts for guests to take home.

WEAVE CEO Beth Hassett is planning a visit, and WEAVE has expressed support in promoting the project beyond Art Street

“I see Faceless becoming a movement,” said Hawkins. “I want to travel the country, photographing survivors of all walks of life and sharing their stories.”

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Mayor Steinberg was photographed in the installation when he visited Art Street on February 4. Chris Macias from The Sacramento Bee has also visited to feature Faceless in an upcoming edition of the Sunday Bee.

Faceless is part of Art Street through February 25.

To contact Sarah about bringing Faceless to your gallery, email facelessnomoreATgmailDOTcom

Donation inquiries are appreciated and may be sent to facelessnomore@gmail.com.

Sarah’s Extra Special Thanks:

  • Autumn Brown
  • Char Hall at Side Show Studios

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