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 and classes for women affected by domestic abuse. The installation depicts the sweep of progress made in Scotland to address domestic abuse through words and pictures in vibrant, bright-coloured glass panels on light boxes. Women’s words are etched around the glass and show ongoing barriers to justice.
The installation has exhibited in the Scottish Parliament and other public buildings to raise awareness. The art classes have been therapeutic and empowering for women and funds are sought for these classes to continue.
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 were made by Brian Waugh, an award-winning artist and 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 daisies they created are exhibited alongside the larger glass installation, to show the whole journey of recovery and rehabilitation beyond reporting to the police and going to court.
To fund ongoing art tuition, the women are selling cards they made during lockdown. For a donation of £5, you can buy a pack of cards. A selection is available at www.glasswallsart.com Follow the GlassWalls story on Twitter @GlassWalls3 and Instagram @GlassWalls Thank you.