Following International Women’s Day, Islington Arts Factory is hosting an exhibition of photographs by women who have suffered violence. One of the photographers whose work is displayed is an arts psychotherapist. Part of her job was working with victims of violence. But then one day, she herself was sexually abused.
Speaking at the private viewing of the exhibition, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I started to realise that I really needed to get some support for myself for dealing with what had just happened to me.”
Part of this treatment was to undergo eight weeks of workshops with the arts charity, Spare Tyre. Yet, the organisers of the event are keen to emphasise that this wasn’t therapy. It did not treat the women simply as victims, but instead as artists-in-residence.
Artistic director of the charity, Arti Prashar, said: “Normally,women who have experienced violence are just sufferers. That’s not the story that these photographs tell, they tell the story of very dynamic, creative women, who have skills. “There are moments when creativity can be very painful, which we are well aware of. But it can also be very healing.”
The process was not about contemplating what about what had happened in the past but instead focused on what they could create.“What was different about this project was that we didn’t really discuss our past experiences,” said the psychotherapist. “I wasn’t used to hearing that much laughter in that space before,” she said. But added, “in some cases, people chose not to share any of their work because it was too painful”
‘Blue Skies’ is at the Islington Arts Factory until 1 April.