No si­lence on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

No Shame No Si­lence is the ti­tle of an art ex­hi­bi­tion at Te Awa­hou Nieuwe St­room from Novem­ber 2 by 28 artists from across New Zealand.

They have con­trib­uted at least 50 pieces of art that will high­light do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and the way the courts re­spond to this.

“The abused are abused by the court sys­tem,” or­gan­iser Sarah-Jayne Shine says about the ra­tio­nale be­hind the ex­hi­bi­tion. The idea for the ex­hi­bi­tion came about af­ter she par­tic­i­pated in a march on Par­lia­ment last year where a pe­ti­tion was handed over de­mand­ing an en­quiry into the fam­ily court.

“I was mor­ti­fied at my own ex­pe­ri­ence in the fam­ily court. There I lost con­trol of my own life and that of my kids.”

She said the march brought out into the open other peo­ple’s hor­ror sto­ries but also ex­pe­ri­ences of heal­ing and ca­ma­raderie among the vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse who were there.

“I also re­alised that my own sit­u­a­tion wasn’t that bad. I only had to deal with the fam­ily court for 20 months. Oth­ers are in that sys­tem for years, some even decades.

“Though I felt em­pow­ered by the ex­pe­ri­ence of march­ing, there was so much loss, anger, frus­tra­tion, grief and other emo­tions that I took home with me from there. I wanted to do some­thing to process that. I am not into march­ing. I am a cre­ative per­son.”

Once the call via Face­book had gone out, the re­sponses flowed in from around the coun­try from many artists who wanted to par­tic­i­pate and share their ex­pe­ri­ences.

She em­pha­sises that do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is not just about women.

“Men also ex­pe­ri­ence abuse. In fact about a third of the artists ex­hibit­ing are men.” The ex­hi­bi­tion is also about chil­dren and how they are crushed by the sys­tem.

Some of the art works on dis­play will be for sale and there will be mer­chan­dise, such as small prints and badges, the proceeds of which go to char­i­ties help­ing vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

The kawakawa leaf was cho­sen as a sym­bol for the is­sue and the ex­hi­bi­tion.

“We wore those on the march.

“It is used for tangi and is a sym­bol for grief. The strong­est leaves of the kawakawa are the best suited for medic­i­nal use and bugs are at­tracted to them, leav­ing the holes.

“It is also the sym­bol for sur­vival and heal­ing and it is heart-shaped.”

No Shame No Si­lence also fea­tures a youth ex­hi­bi­tion in­spired by Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Gi­ant, who caught and bot­tled dreams and night­mares.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will run un­til De­cem­ber 15.

March to Par­lia­ment in Welling­ton last year de­mand­ing an en­quiry into the fam­ily court.

Un­ti­tled woman by SarahJayne Shine.

Process 3 by SarahJayne Shine.

Chains by Philip Sue.

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