I have produced many images of Genie Wiley over the years. Here is a small sample:

The first was the narrow painting, in 2002. Mostly, however, it is in street art that I’ve reproduced her image.


Initially, I read about Genie in a book about the myths, misconceptions, and realities of “feral children.” (I think it was the Michael Newton book but I can’t be sure; it was over 15 years ago.) That led me to the Russ Rymer’s Genie: A Scientific Tragedy.

Genie’s story is one of severe neglect and isolation. Upon her removal from her abusive home life, she became the ideal subject for scientific inquiry given her experience of extreme privation and the fact that she had almost no exposure to spoken language. This led to her being failed, yet again, by those who should have cared for her.

At first my work only referenced the L.A. Times photo of Genie. When the TLC documentary came out, I based some stencils on stills from the film, but always return to that L.A. Times shot.

I have produced and reproduced images of Genie for over 15 years. I have avoided completing this post because I did not want to discuss my feelings around the case. I have completed the post now because I have decided not to discuss them at all.

Angier, Natalie. “’Stopit!’ She Said. ‘Nomore!’.” The New York Times, 25 Apr. 1993. Web. 31 Mar. 2018.
Rymer, Russ. Genie: a Scientific Tragedy. HarperPerennial, 1994. Print.
Citing this page:
Solomon, Alana. “Genie.” Ortolana Studio. Ortolana Studio, 31 Mar. 2018. Web. 31 Mar. 2018.

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