GlassWalls is a collaborative community art project, set up to create a stained-glass art installation which raises awareness of domestic abuse through beautiful art. The installation will depict the sweep of progress made in Scotland to address domestic abuse through words and pictures, etched into vibrant, bright-coloured 1.5metre tall glass panels on light boxes. Calligraphy alongside the drawings uses women’s voices to highlight the challenges still faced by those who have experienced abuse through a bold, dancing palate of colour. The purpose is to create a challenging social commentary of a dark issue that is purposefully dynamic, beautiful and bright.
It is hoped that those attracted to the installation for its artistic beauty will learn something about violence against women: cross-overs between art and social justice can be powerful. Light-boxes have been chosen because gendered abuse is still too often in the shadows. The medium represents the optimism and hope of the women affected, not the societal problem. Before we could read and write, we etched stories into glass. At a time when women still feel that their stories are not heard, it seems apt to return to this traditional art-form to simplify the messages of their story in an inspiring way.
The concept of GlassWalls was created by Emma Forbes, a prosecutor, whose PhD thesis explored victims’ experience of the court process and included listening to the stories of forty women. The glass panels will be made by Brian Waugh, an award-winning artist. Some of the victim-survivors of domestic abuse who took part in the doctoral research are now involved in GlassWalls and are learning how to make their own stained-glass panels in weekly classes. They are being taught by a team of artists at WASPS studios in Glasgow, including Brian Waugh but led by Charles Provan (project manager, artist and Emma's dad). The individual panels they create will exhibit alongside the larger glass installation, to show the whole journey of recovery and rehabilitation beyond reporting to the police and going to court.
We are very lucky to have funding for the women's art tuition and materials; sponsorship for the lighboxes and electrics; and exciting venues lined up, including a launch in the Scottish Parliament. We now really need to raise money to make the glass panels. We want to create something beautiful, dynamic, inspiring and hopeful, just like the women who survive gendered abuse. Please help us! Learn more at www.glasswallsart.com and follow us on Twitter @GlassWalls3 Thank you.