Semester of Graduation



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Studio Art

Document Type




A sinkhole is land that appears structurally sound, but underneath its surface lacks foundation. If there is not enough support for the land above, a sudden collapse of the surface happens. Sinkhole City is a conceptual three-part installation that metaphorically conveys experiences of childhood sexual abuse, incarceration in adolescent psychiatric hospitals, and young adult drug addiction. This work illuminates and explores the relationship between childhood trauma and drug addiction.

Sinkhole City takes the viewer on a journey through semi-autobiographical life passages. In this three-part installation assemblage I am confronting my own sense of past shame, the emotional roller coaster that has accompanied it, and a sense of healing that has come from working with it. I want the viewer to feel the vulnerability of shedding secrets by perhaps considering secrets of their own. My hope is that this work will be perceived as empowering, and my audience will be able to understand that their own struggle towards healing is worthy of the pursuit.

Sinkhole City is a narrative about a subterranean city that parallels and addresses my own real-world experience of sexual violence, inhumane psychiatric practices, and the opioid epidemic. I examine and present a relationship between these events and how they influenced one another. Because I consider myself a survivor, I want to create and foster a safe environment that shows understanding and compassion for this group of people that may not get the attention they need and deserve. Many drug addicts are regarded as criminals or the underbelly of society. They are placed in prisons without rehabilitation, often homeless, jobless and suffering. Most people want to turn a blind eye and blame the addict for their choices. I want to depict and unearth what lead up to the moments before the addiction occurred. My desire is to help humanize a rejected group of people, and hopefully bring about a better understanding of a very misunderstood, ignored, and greatly shamed subject matter.

Committee Chair

Walsh, Michaelene



Included in

Fine Arts Commons