Written by Claire Dorey
Images from Left, Liz Dalton. Maria Beddoes, Andrea Blair
During the next few posts we will be featuring the artwork and statements from artists participating in Silence Is Over in June 2018 at the Portico Gallery. Over 20 female artists had their say on a blank canvas on the subject of coercive control and sexual abuse. The canvases were assembled into two billboards to create a wall of unity. Traditionally used for advertising, often objectifying women, the billboards served as a reclaimed space where the female voice could be heard.
Artworks is shown from left to right and is in the order they were displayed on the billboards. The statements were an integral part of the exhibition.
LIZ DALTON, Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth, Mixed media collage, £250.00
Through her soulful expression Hestia communicates an understanding of other’s pain. The burnt edges allude to Hestia losing her power, her fire being used against her. I originally produced the drawing in an art workshop I was facilitating for victims of domestic violence. Whilst working ‘alongside’ the group participants I became aware of the quiet and thoughtful atmosphere evoked by the portraiture. The learners didn’t question the fact that the images provided were all of ageing women. I believe this was due to a certain open mindedness that can come from extreme suffering. Returning to my studio I further developed the image. I hope her arresting smile symbolises a form of catharsis for those who have recently spoken out and brings comfort to people who remain silent.
MARIA BEDDOES, My Flesh, Acrylic, pastel, £250
This piece is exploring questions about the gaze, the act of seeing and being seen, how readings of types of images of women can be mis-red. I am thinking about the idea of the oversimplification of women, in terms of objectification, whereas the reality of their identity is multilayered and constantly shifting in response to context. Cultural values are full of double standards, cliches get in the way of real understanding, assumptions are made, and actions follow based on delusions and distortions of imagery, They are also used to justify abuse of power and exploitation, this is embedded in our cultural history and should be unpicked and redefined.
ANDREA BLAIR, ’STOP’, Mixed media, £150
I’m taking part because in the past I have had the privilege of working as an art therapist with women who have experienced sexual abuse and violence and have witnessed their courage in the face of shame, despair and societal ignorance. I believe that everyone has a responsibility for making a better society. I am an artist, therapist and educator.