Art from the heart of Survivors

In the silence of suffering, there often lies an untold story of resilience, survival, and the journey towards healing.

For many individuals, escaping the clutches of an abusive relationship is a harrowing ordeal marked by fear, uncertainty, and profound emotional turmoil.  This is the reality for countless individuals who find themselves ensnared in toxic partnerships, where violence and instability are the norm rather than the exception. 

An inspiring exhibition showcasing the artistic talent of women who have courageously escaped domestic abuse was held at Trowbridge County Hall on 6/7/8th March- in honour of International Women’s Day.

The exhibition highlighted the resilience and creativity of those currently finding refuge in the safe accommodation provided by Julian House. In the last year alone Julian House has supported over 150 women, men and their children in safe and supported refuge accommodation across BANES, Wiltshire and Somerset.  

Diana Reed, Domestic Abuse Casework Coordinator at the Wiltshire project has been instrumental in supporting these women in their artistic endeavours. 

“At the outset of their journey to safety we equip women with art materials as a mean of therapeutic expression and an activity for themselves and their children,” explains Reed. It’s remarkable to witness the transformation of the women who were once denied the simple joy of painting due to their coercive circumstances now embracing art as a tool for healing and empowerment”. 

The artwork on display serves as a powerful testament to the experiences of the women capturing the nuances of motherhood, the emotional turmoil of seeking refuge, reclaiming control of their lives and the journey towards healing and self-discovery.

“We wanted to provide a platform for these incredible women to share their stories visually showcasing their bravery and resilience” says Reed. Thanks to the support of Wiltshire Council who generously provided the exhibition space, we were able to shine a light on their remarkable journeys. We are immensely proud of the women who have found the courage to embrace creativity as a means of expression,” adds Reed. “Even if their initial canvasses are shrouded in darkness, each stroke represents a step towards reclaiming light and agency in their lives”.

One of the women whose art was displayed explained how the art project has helped her and many others:

“After being in refuge for a short space of time and having to deal with a range of emotions, I found a new love for art and found painting relaxing and gave me time to focus and create something positive” 

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “This is an inspiring initiative and we’re pleased we could help people to share their stories with the public to raise awareness and potentially encourage others who might need it to seek help.”