Abuse expressed through art

Meatloaf and creamed corn: Sam Veal stands by her photo. Veal’s exhibition was centered around her abusive experiences living with her father.

Yue Li

Sam Veal is a senior sculpture and ceramics student holding her senior exhibition in the art building of Washburn University, themed around the mental abuse she experienced in her childhood.

The exhibition is titled “Meatloaf and Creamed Corn” and can be found in the John R. Adams Gallery of the art building at Washburn University from Sept. 30 to Oct. 11. Veal had her opening reception on Friday Oct. 4.

The exhibition is about the mental abuse that Veal experienced as a child. The downstairs gallery section is about her father’s house where it occurred, and the upstairs gallery section is about her mother’s house where she was supported.

Veal’s father was arrested on Feb. 1, 2019 for child abuse. With the exposure of it, Veal decided to do her senior exhibition about mental abuse to encourage others to share their stories and for the public to help end any kind of abuse.

There are 13 pieces made of various materials included in the exhibit. The title, “Meatloaf and Creamed Corn,” is derived from trauma that she experienced in the home, which continues to affect her today. For most people, meatloaf and creamed corn are comfort food. However, they are not comforting for Veal, as she was forced to eat them when she was in her father’s home.

On the first floor, there are black and white photos, showing the unpleasant experiences. The installation is composed of a burned couch and a wall in the back. The writings on the wall are peeled off. The couch is burned to show discomfort.

On the second floor, there is a family dinner table, designed to show the things that brought her family together. There is a photo-installation that is composed mainly by photos from Veal’s grandparents’ house, showing the happiness from the family.

Art professor Benjamin Wills was Veal’s workshop course mentor and also her senior exhibition mentor. He has worked closely with Veal, helping and inspiring her in her projects.

“I think Sam has done a wonderful job bringing together different kinds of media to tell a singular story,” said Wills. “Sam has the ability to be an important artistic voice for her generation.”

Veal grew up in a family that was constantly building things. She took that in a different direction by pursuing art and becoming a sculpture major. “Being a sculpture artist, you start from nothing. You don’t have four lines like you do with the painting or drawing. You don’t have any limitations. You can make whatever you want. And that’s what I like about sculpture,” said Veal.

After graduating from Washburn University, Veal plans to apply to art shows and art residency. She wants to be a sculpture artist and teach at a university in the future.

“I would like to teach people that are passionate about their work,” said Veal.

Edited by Adam White, Jackson Woods, Jason Morrison