In 2015, tired of waiting for the governing party to hold the long-awaited gender equality referendum that they promised as part of their election campaign, Sonia exhibited “Elect Ya Tings” at the 32nd Annual Central Bank Art Competition.
This interactive installation in the form of a voting booth and confessional allowed viewers to vote on the four proposed Constitution articles for equal treatment under the law. Because the promise for a referendum had still not been fulfilled, the referendum felt false and hollow, so these votes, as they were cast, passed through a shredder, making them redundant.
The following year, the Bahamian public voted on the four proposed article amendments during the actual referendum in June 2016 with a landslide of “no” votes. Though personally devastating, this hardly surprising outcome nevertheless revealed the referendum for what it truly has been all along: not a human rights issue, but rather a political tool.
“Cycle of Abuse” is a manifestation of this frustration, a response to the results one year later, and a disruption to this dominant, problematic, and outdated narrative. For this piece, Sonia gathered the voting ballot shreds from “Elect Ya Tings” and pulped them down to make them into blank sheets of paper. She then letterpress-printed blank voting cards onto these sheets. Each of these cards holds a thumbprint of her menstrual blood for every cycle experienced between June 2016 to July 2017, along with the declaration “I am a citizen of this nation.” Equal rights for all; we are all citizens of this nation.