April 30, 2021

Why Do We Associate Certain Colours With Trauma?

Reina Edmiston

OilOut of the House, 202190x90cm

This week, I was informed that I have been the victim of sexual assault due to images taken without my consent. The news was unexpected and resulted in me reliving a previous sexual assault. I didn’t want to paint, I didn’t want to leave the house. But today I did. Today was better. I instinctively reached for certain colours, my hand grabbing the paint faster than my mind was moving. Looking at the finished piece, I wondered why these colours resonated with my frame of mind. We learn in school that blues and greys are the colours of sad faces; happy faces are bright yellows and vivid oranges. This is carried into our adult lives; bright colours are used to accent rooms, sell us certain products (golden arches anyone?). Why do we associate certain colours with trauma? If we were taught in school that pinks and yellows were bland and depressing, would we have rows of yellow houses instead of the greys that fill my street? Today was a better day, thinking about colour has got me thinking about something else.