Rachel Kenny

August 2023


‘What are we waiting for?’ Performance. Shown to a small audience at KuBa. A tribute to Ashling Murphy. 1998-2022.

Using monoprint technique, I scrawl her name through the ink and print onto my body which is then transferred to the wall. Now she rests, dancing in Germany. The weather while I was in KuBa had been beautiful, I arrived during a heatwave. On this Sunday when we were showcasing our work to the community, the weather had taken a small bit of a turn. The sky was grey but it was still warm and dry. We’d moved from Merlijne’s location to mine and as I’m preparing my ink, my body, the rain starts to pour. The studio where I was performing has no doors, it’s just an open box, so the rain was everywhere. A few minutes later, covered in ink, I’m standing back, finished with my work and the rain stops. We laughed about it later saying Ireland really came with me but then we thought maybe it was just Ashling saying hello.

Prior to this work, I had begun to explore the field of Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) and its impact on our society and the violence epidemic we are currently living through. DTD, while acknowledged by members of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, failed to make its way into the DSM-V, being seen as “clinical intuition” despite evidence presented from a number of DSM-V field trials with many person-based research assessments having been investigated since the 1970s. When we can acknowledge that traumatised children need specific care and treatment and not premature diagnoses and medication prescriptions, will we begin to finally treat this cycle of violence and abuse? It is understandable to condemn such questions, as it pertains to a sense of excusing violent attacks, which can feel disrespectful to victims. But in order to heal as a society, we cannot continue to point fingers in blame, we must begin to look for solutions. We must begin to look at preventative measures for as it stands, punishment and consequences have evidently had no effect. The title “What are we waiting for?” suggests that while new laws have been put in place since this tragedy, still we are faced with overwhelming cases of violence against women. It poses the question as to whether it’s time we take a newer, alternative approach and to remind us that it is within OUR power to make a change. Ashling was born the same year as I. We lived in the same county at the same time, only her running route was much prettier than mine. Did my inability to afford Dublin City rent prices save me that day? She could’ve been any of us. I hope she has found peace.