Ex­hi­bi­tion opens doors over­seas for artist

Rotorua Daily Post - - Local News - Shauni James

It is an ex­cit­ing time for Ro­torua artist Bar­bara Bew as she sees the vi­sion for her art come to fruition and raises aware­ness of top­ics close to her heart.

Last year Bew had an ex­hi­bi­tion, with the pro­ceeds of sales go­ing to Women’s Refuge, which paid for paint to re­dec­o­rate the three safe houses in Ro­torua.

She said as a re­sult of her art be­ing seen she had been in­vited to send works to Amer­ica and the United King­dom next year.

Bew was in­vited by SAFE Inc chief ex­ec­u­tive Jas­mine Joseph Oritz to send works to New York as part of a gala fundraiser in Jan­uary. SAFE high­lights the plight of women trapped in hu­man traf­fick­ing and pro­vides a safe haven for women re­cov­er­ing from sex slav­ery so they can re­build their lives.

She has also been in­vited to send art to the United King­dom for the ex­hi­bi­tion Ver­i­tas Jus­tice at the end of this month to raise aware­ness about stalk­ing.

And she will travel to New York late next year for a solo ex­hi­bi­tion to raise aware­ness about hu­man traf­fick­ing and the ex­ploita­tion of women.

“For me, it’s about how the hu­man spirit rises above ad­ver­sity and goes on to achieve, and that I’m not de­fined by one hor­rific event. “If my art touches one life and their free­dom, then that’s why I speak out.”

Paint­ing for hu­man­i­tar­ian causes is im­por­tant to Bew be­cause of her own ex­pe­ri­ence.

Bew said she was once vi­o­lently as­saulted. She has also faced a num­ber of other tri­als in her life in­clud­ing fall­ing and break­ing her leg, be­ing in a car crash, hav­ing a big flood in the house, her two dogs get­ting sick and dy­ing and then los­ing a close friend.

She said at that point she stepped away from her nurs­ing ca­reer to take care of her­self. Bew said she worked with a psy­chol­o­gist for a year, deal­ing with the trauma of the as­sault.

She ex­plored her emo­tions through art, and art ther­apy helped her re­cover.

She said she started to do can­vas work three years ago when she cre­ated one for her bap­tism and to thank God that she had sur­vived.

“I emerged as an artist. As I re­cov­ered I be­came more and more aware of how do­mes­tic vi­o­lence can af­fect a per­son’s life.

“I wanted to speak out about what hap­pened to me.”

Bew plans to turn Agape, her art busi­ness, into a char­i­ta­ble trust where money can be given to causes that ben­e­fit sur­vivors of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

PHOTO / STEPHEN PARKER

Ro­torua artist Bar­bara Bew with some of her works head­ing over­seas.

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