Suzzan Blac's early years were the stuff of the darkest nightmares: abject poverty and spirit-crushing abuse. Adolescence brought a harrowing coercion into the horrific world of the sex trade where she was held prisoner. She escaped, but spiraled into depression. Eventual marriage to a loving man and two beautiful children gave her a sense of normalcy for the first time in her life. But the long buried memories kept her an emotional hostage. To free herself and heal, she started painting. Out came 42 pieces, so raw they shocked even the artist. She hid them for a decade. When finally she revealed them, fame followed. Her work is exhibited around the world.

(excerpt from chapter 1)
I was born on the twenty-third of June 1960, during a midsummer's eve thunderstorm. Mother resented me even while I was still in the womb, because—as she constantly reminded me and told everybody else—I lay on her spine for the entire pregnancy.

I crippled her, she said, by causing her severe sciatica. Although the doctors tried several times to reposition me in utero, I always returned to lying on her spine. It was one of her favorite stories.


During my recovery sessions with a therapist, I asked her why, out of all my horrific memories, I always became the most emotional over a silly, insignificant image: Mother holding my tiny hand as we crossed a busy street. The therapist said the image was immensely significant because it was the only time in my life that Mother actually protected me. I had clung to that single memory of her being a true mother to me, if only for a few seconds, because that was all that I had.

Even now, as I write this, tears well up in my eyes and heart for what could have been ... what should have been.


(excerpt from chapter 11)
I opened the door to the balcony and stepped into the bitter winter air. I looked over the wall at the sparkling concrete nine floors below. I dragged a small table to the front of the balcony and climbed upon it, shivering with cold and fear. Crouching there, I waited for the area below to clear of people.

My tears felt oddly hot as they ran into my mouth. I imagined my twisted, broken limbs and cold white face in a pool of frozen blood. Voices inside my head goaded me: Just do it! Go on, end your shitty life! Just do it! Just do it!

And I wanted to do it ... I looked up at the clear, black-velvet sky, my tears freezing on my cheeks. The crescent moon and twinkling stars were so beautiful, so astoundingly beautiful. The table wobbled so violently from my shivering that I got scared and climbed down. I couldn't do it. I couldn't jump. I was too pathetic and weak even to throw myself off a balcony.

So I decided to do something else instead. I removed all my clothes. I would die as I had been born: naked, and in the fetal position. I would fall asleep up here and freeze to death. Lying down on the rough, icy floor of the balcony, I curled myself up and waited for eternal sleep.


(excerpt from chapter 19)
The very first painting was of my mother. After I finished the canvas, I stared at it until a sense of revulsion and disdain replaced the indifference I had held for this woman for so many years. During that time I had kept my feelings in check because I had such conflicted emotions. Yes, Mother did do terrible things to me—but she was my mother.

Now I had placed my deepest and truest feelings about my mother on canvas, rendering her as a serpentine form with a gaping maw, insanely glaring eyes, and a clenched fist. For the first time I saw Mother in her true colors: blue to depict anger and power; red to represent pain. That was all Mother meant to me. Her portrait displayed no beauty whatsoever, no love. What stared out at me was pure hatred.

After that I decided to paint everyone who had ever abused me, and to depict how the abuse made me feel. I would become the photographer of my own life story.


I was no longer painting only for myself—I was painting for those who could not express their own pain in words or images. I was a voice for them, a release from their anguished silence. And the experience was as cathartic for them as it had been for me. My art is meant to appeal to those who can identify and connect with it, and thereby feel less isolated. In the realm of sexual abuse, just knowing that you are not alone helps tremendously. And realizing that what happened to you is not your fault aids in your recovery process. Survivors say that I inspire them ... but the truth is, they inspire me.

Copyright © 2010-2015 Suzzan Blac.

Site last updated 13th of January, 2015.
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