BC Trauma Bond

BC Trauma Bond: As in Before Christ There Were Demons and They’ve Persisted in Heavenly Places is the multimedia artwork I am currently creating relating to the the trauma I experienced having been drugged, raped and threatened by the serial rapist, Bill Cosby, in the early 1990’s.   The process of creating the artwork is my therapeutic coping mechanism for grounding myself as I continue to heal.

Lili Bernard. Self-Portrait in Straight Jacket with Assata Shakur as Oya-Yansa and Kathleen Cleaver as La Virgen de La Candelaria, 2017. Oil on Canvas, 48"x36"

Lili Bernard. Self-Portrait in Straight Jacket with Assata Shakur as Oya-Yansa and Kathleen Cleaver as La Virgen de La Candelaria, 2017. Oil on Canvas, 48″x36″

Lili Bernard. Self Portrait as Yemaya Under Attack, 2016. Mixed Media, 58"x36"

Lili Bernard. Self Portrait as Yemaya Under Attack, 2017 work-in-progress. Sequin, Acrylic Paint, Photographs, Pills, Glitter, Nylon Afro-Wig, Ribbon, Pipe Cleaners, Cork, False Eyelashes, Plastic Eyes and Costume Jewelry on Canvas, 48″x36″

Lili Bernard. Trump Trigger Warning One, 2017. Acrylic Paint, Photos, Costume Jewels, and Wooden Toothpicks on Canvas, 8"x8"

Lili Bernard. Trump Trigger Warning One, 2017. Acrylic Paint, Photos, Costume Jewels, and Wooden Toothpicks on Canvas, 8″x8.” Collection of Judy Bowen.

Lili Bernard. "Self Portrait as Carlota," 2016 work-in-progress. Oil on Canvas, 72"x60"

Lili Bernard. Say My Name: Self Portrait as Carlota, 2017 work-in-progress. Oil on Canvas, 72″x60″

Lili Bernard. Manos Arriba, BC, 2016. Acrylic paint, photographs, indelible marker, costume jewelry, pills, glitter, plastic human skeleton, 24"x36"

Lili Bernard. Manos Arriba, BC, 2016. Acrylic paint, photographs, indelible marker, costume jewelry, pills, glitter, plastic human skeleton, 24″x36″ click here to enlarge

Lili Bernard: “Elvis Slept Here: Help Me, Abuelitas,” 2016. Acrylic paint, photographs, indelible marker, costume jewelry, sequin, glitter, rubber scorpions & snakes, rubber frogs, barbie doll, leather chord, plastic crescent moons, fake coins & jewels, dice, toy plastic bottle, rubber human skeleton, wood, cloth, 19″x24″

Lili Bernard. “Elvis Slept Here: Help Me, Abuelitas,” 2016. Acrylic paint, photographs, indelible marker, costume jewelry, sequin, glitter, rubber scorpions & snakes, rubber frogs, barbie doll, leather cord, plastic crescent moons, fake coins & jewels, dice, toy plastic bottle, rubber human skeleton, wood, cloth, 19″x24″ click here to enlarge

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Lili Bernard. Coffee Table Trigger, 2017 work-in-progress. Carved Wooden Coffee Table Top, “28×48”

Lili Bernard. "Self Portrait as Carlota," 2016 work-in-progress. Oil on Canvas, 72"x60" Lili Bernard. "Zion as the Orisha Oya-Yansa," 2016 work-in-progress. Oil on Canvas, 72"x60"

Lili Bernard. Daughter Zion as Orisha Oya-Yansa, 2017 work-in-progress. Oil on Canvas, 72″x60″

Lili Bernard. BC Effigy, 2016. Sculptural Bop Bag and Performance Art, 48"x30"x30"

Lili Bernard. BC Effigy, 2016. Sculptural Bop Bag and Performance Art, 48″x30″x30″

Applying the warpaint pre-rally, codified with Afro-Cuban religion and folklore, November 21, 2015, Los Angeles, CA

Applying the warpaint pre-rally, codified with Afro-Cuban religion and folklore, November 21, 2015, Los Angeles, CA

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Warpaint in play, invoking the help of the ancestors, at our first rally to abolish the statute of limitations on rape in California, interviewed by the media with other rape and Cosby survivors, at Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Shame, Los Angeles, CA, November 21, 2015. Photo courtesy the Associated Press.

Detail of Taj Mahal Four Squares, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, Jan 14, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during art therapy class while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Detail of Taj Mahal Four Squares, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, Jan 14, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during art therapy class while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Detail of Taj Mahal Trauma Remembered, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, Jan 9, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during art therapy class while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Detail of Taj Mahal Trauma Remembered, Colored Pencil on Paper, 8.5″x11″, Jan 9, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during art therapy class while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Detail of Phone Call Triggers, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 11, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created while being triggered into flashbacks by my husband's blaming and shaming comments over the phone while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Detail of Phone Call Triggers, Ink and Colored Pencil on Paper, 11″x8.5″, December 11, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created while I was a patient at National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Can’t Breathe, Crayon and Pencil on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 3, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created during a flashback, for grounding, while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Can’t Breathe, Crayon and Pencil on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 3, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created while trying to ground myself during a flashback of this memory, when I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Sinner Man Four Squares, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 17, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created during an art therapy session while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Sinner Man Four Squares, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 17, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created during an art therapy session while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Daughters Beware, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, March 3, 2054 by Lili Bernard

Daughters Beware, Crayon on Paper, 11″x8.5″, March 3, 2015 by Lili Bernard

Detail 1 of BC Trauma Strip Page (a narrative “comic strip” I’ve been creating on the actual details and dialogue of the sexual and emotional trauma I endured in my mid 20′s), Color Pencil on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 11, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Detail 1 of BC Trauma Strip (from one of many Trauma Strip pages I’ve been creating), Color Pencil on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 11, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created while I was a patient at National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital.)

Detail 2 of BC Trauma Strip Page (a narrative “comic strip” I’ve been creating on the actual details and dialogue of the sexual and emotional trauma I endured in my mid 20′s), Color Pencil on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 11, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Detail 2 of BC Trauma Strip Page (from one of many Trauma Strip pages I’ve been creating), Color Pencil on Paper, 8.5″x11″, December 11, 2014 by Lili Bernard (created while I was a patient at National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Carlota About to be Quartered, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, Jabuary 19, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during an art therapy session while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Carlota About to be Quartered, Crayon on Paper, 11″x8.5″, January 19, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during an art therapy session while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Lili as Carlotta About to be Quartered, Crayon on Paper, 8.5″x11″, Jabuary 18, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during an art therapy session while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Lili as Carlotta About to be Quartered, Crayon on Paper, 11″x8.5″, January 18, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during an art therapy session while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

Zion as Oya-Yansa, Colored Pencil and Indelible Marker on Paper, January 23, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during art therapy class while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

For My Daughter Zion: Oya-Yansa, Colored Pencil and Indelible Marker on Paper, 11″x8.5″, January 23, 2015 by Lili Bernard (created during art therapy class while I was a patient at the National Trauma Center Delamo Hospital)

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Lili as Carlota, work-in-progress, May 2015, oil on canvas, 72″x60″

BarbieBelt1Bill Cosby’s Slave Stock is a sculptural mixed media interactive work-in- progress.  Forty-seven Barbie Dolls are shackled together like chattel in this tandem linear manner. A narrow conveyor belt takes them through a course.  There are 47 Barbies chained together, because I am the 47th of Bill Cosby’s survivors to disclose to the public.  The dolls go in and out of Cosby’s NYC brownstone and through the mouth of his duplicitous head.  On one side of the head (where the dolls enter) Cosby’s facial expression is kind and welcoming.  On the back side of the head is Cosby’s face with a demonic expression, also with mouth open wide from which Cosby spits out the Barbies.  The dolls meander through pill bottles, a sparkling apple cider bottle and a shot of booze or a wine glass. They travel through airplanes, taxi cabs and fancy cars.

Exhibition goers are invited to spin an attached slave ship wheel which  manually cranks gears of the conveyor belt, moving the Barbies along the course, chained to one another.  This interaction between the exhibition goers and the slave ship wheel, which sets the work of art in motion, asks what role we each play in the culture of rape.

The parallel of slavery to Bill Cosby’s drugging and serial raping of young women is because Bill Cosby enslaved his victims (me included) both mentally and physically.  He lured us with false promises of meeting producers and casting directors, when in fact he was trafficking us for sex, against our will.  He slipped incapacitating drugs into our blood stream, without our knowing, which acted as shackles that entrapped us and prevented us from fighting him off effectively or escaping.    The drugs also rendered us unable to speak properly and scream as loudly as we could have were we not drugged — hence also acting as gags – like steel scold’s bridles which slave masters used to silence their slaves while they raped them.

All these tactics that Cosby employed — false promises to lure and traffic us for sex without our knowing, incapacitating drugs to detain us against our will and prevent us from escaping and screaming for help effectively, and threats to silence us from reporting him — were the tools that Cosby used to systematically enslave women for decades.  Bound by the drugs he stealthily slipped into our blood stream, we thereby involuntarily served our sex to Bill Cosby, against our will, as do slaves.

The sculpture includes a slave ship in shark-infested water, fire and brimstone, glam and glitz and mirrors. As were my enslaved ancestors, the Barbie Dolls are all branded with initials of their slave owner, in this case “BC,” for Bill Cosby.