November 06, 2012

Navajo art to fund rape documentary

The art of "Innocence Lost," and found

By Greg YeeShiprock-based Navajo artist Keno Zahney is using his art to touch lives.

Working in collaboration with the Navajo artists' collective Art of the People, Inc., Zahney is helping to raise awareness of a brutal rape and beating.

The victim: his niece, Charlotte Hansen, 21.

"I don't really expect anything in return," he said. "It's just my way of helping."

Zahney's painting will be auctioned to raise funds for a documentary about Hansen's ordeal and road to recovery called "Innocence Lost: The Charlotte Hansen Story."

"As far as the painting, I designed it," Zahney said. "I started it and asked Art of the People for help. We've been getting requests for prints and posters."

In August 2002, Hansen was kidnapped from her home in Midvale, Utah by a family friend, said documentary's director, Jared Richardson.

Richardson was also one of the officers involved in Hansen's case.

"She was dragged out to the backyard and raped," he said. "He took a sledgehammer and broke every bone in her face. It was my police dog that apprehended the suspect."

Hansen survived, but the recovery process was particularly trying.
Comment:  For more on using Native art to combat problems, see "Got Death?" Drinking Awareness Contest and REDress Project.

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