Impact of artwork which raises awareness of domestic abuse recognised with national award
6 December 2017
An artist who created an exhibition to shift the focus of shame from victims to perpetrators of domestic abuse believes winning a national award shows that people are willing to listen to the issues at stake.
Helen Robinson’s work – titled It doesn’t have to be that way: Breaking the cycles of abuse, violence and control – won the Sustainable Practice in Arts, Culture or Sport Award at the 2017 Sustain Wales Awards run by Cynnal Cymru / Sustain Wales.
The exhibition, created while Helen was a student at Wrexham Glyndwr University, raises awareness of issues surrounding child abuse, violence and control.
Collecting the award at a Cardiff ceremony, Helen said: “It was an absolute honour to be announced the winner of the category - it felt like a real endorsement of the work I’ve done, which at times was incredibly challenging, and I accept in on behalf of all those who have suffered abuse, violence and control in their lives.
“My work was based on confessional art and I created it to challenge the shame that victims often feel locked into.
“My passion is to shift the shame from the victim to the perpetrator, where it truly belongs, and to empower those that have suffered to know 'It doesn’t have to be that way.'
“The fact that both the judges and the general public got behind me was confirmation to me that I need to keep putting that message out there, and that the community want to listen.”
As well as the exhibition, Helen has held workshops which provide people with a safe environment for a cathartic experience through art.
Helen add: “I want to continue to create pieces that raise awareness, as well as developing the 'cathartic workshops' to help others release and process emotional stress and trauma and am looking for funding and support to be able to do this.
“I feel as an artist and trainer I have been given a unique platform to communicate with others, and my life experience and past experiences gives me both the passion and tools to do it.
“Speaking out can sometimes be the hardest thing someone can ever do but I would encourage others to do the same as there is more support out there than you think, it just takes one small step in the right direction..."
Helen beat off competition from projects run by BBC Roath Lock Studios and a partnership of Theatr Clwyd and Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board to collect the Sustain Wales award.
Find out more at http://www.cynnalcymru.com/sustainable-arts-culture-2017/