Art ex­hi­bi­tion giv­ing sur­vivors a voice


An ex­hi­bi­tion two years in the mak­ing is bring­ing Women’s Refuge out of the shade and em­pow­er­ing the sur­vivors of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Vol­un­teer Mar­garet Lit­tle said the idea be­hind the ex­hi­bi­tion at Pataka Mu­seum was get­ting sur­vivors to tell their own sto­ries.

‘‘It’s a cel­e­bra­tion of sur­vival, strength and courage ... come out of the shade of guilt and shame.

‘‘We want to get away from call­ing peo­ple vic­tims and call them sur­vivors.’’

She said art from women and chil­dren in the Liv­ing with Vi­o­lence pro­gramme would be joined by work from Aro­hata Pris­on­ers, doc­tors and health work­ers.

Some of the work sub­mit­ted by the com­mu­nity will be for sale to raise funds for the Porirua refuges.

Lit­tle is quick to point out that the ex­hi­bi­tion isn’t about mak­ing money.

‘‘It’s not a fundraiser, it’s about giv­ing women and chil­dren their voice.

‘‘It’s so that peo­ple can learn some­thing from us and cease to be fright­ened. It’s a pos­i­tive plat­form to dis­cuss a com­mu­nity is­sue.’’

Women’s Refuge sup­port worker Sa­mara Welch said the ex­hi­bi­tion would be a great con­ver­sa­tion starter.

‘‘We want as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to come and take away what they need from it.

‘‘It’s a good plat­form to have a dis­cus­sion on a dif­fer­ent level in­stead of stand­ing be­hind a ta­ble or with a col­lec­tion bucket.’’

The ex­hi­bi­tion is a com­bined ven­ture be­tween Whare Manaaki Porirua Wom­ens Refuge, Te Whare Ti­aki Wahine Refuge and Porirua Liv­ing with­out Vi­o­lence.

The event ties in with their street ap­peal days on July 19 and 22.

‘‘I’ve been col­lect­ing be­fore and peo­ple in Porirua are re­ally gen­er­ous. There’s lots of peo­ple be­hind us.’’

Welch said all money col­lected in Porirua would go to­wards the two Porirua refuges that pool their re­sources.

‘‘Peo­ple can be sure that if they do­nate here in Porirua their money will stay here to help our com­mu­nity.’’

The Porirua or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vides sup­port and ad­vo­cacy ser­vices to sur­vivors of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence from New­lands to Pukerua Bay.

Join­ing the Pieces ex­hi­bi­tion runs from July 22 till Au­gust 21, all wel­come.

Mar­garet Lit­tle and Sa­mara Welch hold the art­work pro­duced by a sur­vivor of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence that in­spired the name of the ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Join­ing the Pieces.’

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