Kathy Curtis Cahill – Featured LACP Member, July 2017
Kathy Curtis Cahill
Children depend on adults from the time they are born until they are themselves adults. Neglect and abuse at the early developmental stage is perhaps the greatest harm you can do a child. It is believed that even a single message of rejection or a lone episode of emotional abuse can have an impact on the psyche of a child .Many adults still carry the scars of their childhood, and it prevents them from leading a happy, healthy and productive life.
Coping mechanisms for young children often involve role play. From a very early age young children play all day. This is how they start to make sense of the world around them .When they are having fun, learning is natural and easy. Play based learning frequently means pretending and role playing, Using props and costumes, they explore real life or imaginary worlds. This imaginative play aids not only intellectual development, but fosters empathy and social skills. They can safely try on other identities, and feel what it is like to be someone else. This includes mom and dad, everyday figures like policemen, as well as superheroes and princesses. Pretending helps them explore the unknown but offers a safety net, allowing them to take risks. Many abused children go through role play therapy in their recovery process, allowing them to feel less like a victim by giving them a sense of control over their lives.
My current bodies of work capture these moments, both good and bad, that make up everyone’s childhood memories. I use dolls as stand-ins for children, posed in situations reminiscent of childhood experiences. I want to engage the viewers to fill in their own stories, and to raise their awareness of how important and long lasting childhood experiences are.
After being educated as an art teacher, I moved to Los Angeles and became involved in film and television. I worked in the Art Department as a Set Decorator, over 30 years in this capacity, garnering an Emmy Nomination in 2001. I retired in 2011 and now pursue photography full time. My subject matter is varied, I pursue what interests me at the moment, but all of my work reflects my extensive background in the artifice of the entertainment industry, telling a story non verbally, with the actors still off stage. I prefer to use mannequins and dolls as stand ins.