Globally acclaimed exhibition, THE SPIRAL OF CONTAINMENT: RAPE’S AFTERMATH, by Elisa Iannacone, opens at CONSTITUTION HILL, from 14 May 2022 and runs through Youth Month to 30 June 2022.


"My career as a cinematographer and photojournalist came to a sudden halt after I was sexually assaulted in 2011. After the assault, I felt like a shadow of a person, without much direction, and barely any capacity to navigate earth."


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"Through art therapy, I started to process my assault creatively… I reached out to other people, who had been raped to explore the images that spiralled in their minds. The result became a project that aims to impact people around the world". 



THE SPIRAL OF CONTAINMENT: RAPE’S AFTERMATH, the multi-media immersive and experiential exhibition by Mexican-Canadian photographer, cinematographer and foreign correspondent, Elisa Iannacone, featuring 25 hauntingly beautiful portraits of rape survivors, opens at South Africa’s iconic home of contemporary justice, CONSTITUTION HILL on 14 May 2022, with an exhibition specially curated for installation in the 25 Isolation Cells of NUMBER 4 PRISON.


THE SPIRAL OF CONTAINMENT (SPRIAL) was first exhibited at The OXO Tower Bargehouse in London in 2018, to an overwhelming response from media and public alike. Consisting of 24 photographs, soundscapes and installations, and one holographic projection (self-portrait), each work in the SPRIAL suite of photographs features a rape survivor, in a fictionally-constructed portrait - magical-realist in style. The image drew from each subject’s recollections of their experiences, reframed and reworked into layered statements of empowerment, agency, and identity.


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The portraits were photographed in a range of locations and countries, including seven in South Africa. The Spiral project, and method, evolved from Iannacone’s own experience of rape, and therapeutic recovery.


The 24 images are “colour-coded” into the 24 primary, secondary and tertiary colours in the colour wheel -  with her own image, a 25th,  monochromatic hologram. Iannacone funded the project, which took five years to complete, from her work in war zones.



Iannacone was born in Mexico and studied BFA Film Production (York University, Canada, 2010) and MA International Journalism (City University London, 2013). She has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, journalist, foreign correspondent and human rights documentarist on six continents, for BBC, Newsweek, and National Geographic, among others, covering conflict zones and humanitarian crises such as the Rabaa massacre, domestic violence in Syrian refugee camps in Iraq, and cyclone Idai in Mozambique.



The CONSTITUTION HILL exhibition opens on 14 May 2022, at 11h00, and has been specially curated for accommodation in the chilling ISOLATION CELLS at the bottom of NUMBER 4 PRISON.  The original exhibition, which ran across five floors of the OXO TOWER BARGEHOUSE included a large-scale image (1500mmx1000mm), accompanied by an oral testimony and installations.


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The Constitution Hill exhibition, which marks the resumption of the global tour, following lock-down, includes text and digital links to the oral testimonies. The exhibition, which runs throughout Youth Month to 30 June 2022, is not only the first public viewing of the exhibition since its UK debut – but a first for the local survivors.


A programme of workshops focusing on rape, legal procedure, and justice; and art as testimony Is scheduled for CONSTITUTION HILL.


The Constitution Hill exhibition follows on two local exhibition previews of four key works from the series - at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair in February 2022, and on the NIROX Winter Sculpture Exhibition, on 7 and 8 May 2022.  


Iannacone has been Artist-in-Residence at NIROX since March 2022, producing a new body of work focusing on social justice and trauma, with children as the subjects, as well as a site-specific work from the SPIRAL suite. 


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A social impact legacy project, in collaboration with community activists and therapeutic and architectural practitioners, is in development. It is envisaged that the multi-disciplinary outputs, will come on line in the next year.

Iannacone is brought to South Africa by AFRICA CONTEMPORARY ART, and JUST ART INTERNATIONAL with funding in part by the National Arts Council. From South Africa, the exhibition commences a global tour on both Art Fair and heritage circuits.  

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