In a country where one woman dies every week at the hands of a partner, the news this week was especially grim: five women were killed in the space of seven days.
These women were mothers, sisters, colleagues, friends. One of the women was pregnant.
In the wake of such shocking news, it can be difficult to know how to help.
One group of women who have found a way to contribute are the 16 artists who have created artworks for the We’re The Women exhibition on now. The art works, which can be seen here as well as at Sydney’s Woodburn Centre in Redfern from 8-11 October, are being sold to raise money for the Women And Girls Emergency Centre. (Posters are $30 and prints are $250.)
For artist Elin Matilda Andersson, taking part in the exhibition had personal meaning. “My grandmother had the strength to break out of an abusive relationship with my grandfather,” she says. “She doesn’t like to talk about it, and she divorced him in the ‘70s, which at the time was a big thing.”
Elin, who is originally from Sweden, says she grew up surrounded by strong women, and has always felt a strong sense of social justice. Her work, which employed a range of artistic processes including collage, was inspired by the idea of sisterhood. “It think that the idea of women helping each other is such a powerful and lifesaving thing.”
For fellow artist Carla McRae, who is know for her bright and exuberant work (and whose work is shown at the top of the story), contributing to We’re The Women allowed her to use her talents in a meaningful way. “I’m so conscious that as an illustrator I’m a person who has communication skills and a platform. This is a way to give a voice to people who aren’t heard.”
Carla opted for bold, bright colours “that aren’t ‘traditionally’ feminine” in her art work, which envisions a community where women are loved and respected, to convey strength and depth of emotion. “[Domestic violence] is just such an important issue, and I think everyone knows someone who has been affected by domestic violence or homelessness.
“WAGEC is a really important organisation doing incredible work for equality, and working towards real change in their community. I’m really proud to be working with them.”
The exhibition has been organised by For The People, which led WAGEC’s rebranding, pro bono.
If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, phone 1800 RESPECT. If you are in Sydney, you can find out more about WAGEC here.