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Unsafe playgrounds


This is an old college painting, part of a series of swings and swing sets. At the time I didn’t understand why I was drawn to them. Playgrounds were just open spaces filled with children and their families representing simple joy and easy entertainment. Yet when I was back in my studio working, I added subtle, somewhat sinister details to the images that implied a darkness lurking beneath the surface. My husband talks about how the swings chains look like they're made of barbed wire. And I think, “he’s exactly right”.


When I was little, little I was very aware of feeling “off”. I literally believed I was pure “bad”, made of poisonous mud and rotten apples. By the time I was in college, that awareness was deeply and properly buried. But it was obviously still in there and making its way to the surface the only way it knew how (thank God). While one part of me looked at playgrounds (particularly swing sets) and felt “fun!” A quieter part of me felt loss and ick and a very real sense that “kids are unsafe, they are always unsafe”.

© 2020 D Hake Art