In 2019 I was honoured to have connected with some amazing women who had been the victims of domestic violence. I had several lengthy and frankly harrowing conversations with these women about their experiences. This is what drew me to paint ‘Hope IS The Key’.
I had asked each of these women to give me some visuals of what it felt like to be in this abusive relationship and they all described a similar image or experience.
‘It felt like I was trapped in the grip of my abuser, trying so hard to pull away. I could see a door and I knew on the other side lay freedom and beauty, but I just couldn’t reach the key.’
This was such a consistent image in their own responses in addition to words like, embarrassed; ashamed; humiliated and their concern that nobody would believe them because their abuser was so charismatic.
All of these women, who so courageously shared openly with me were adamant that the abuser should not be given any shape or form, but he should be a shadowy figure in the background, foreboding and controlling but not entirely visible.
I was happy with the image and then one day I walked into my studio and realised that the painting had fallen in the night, puncturing the canvas at the exact spot I had painted a fist on the perpetrator. I decided to semi-repair it and include it as part of the painting by featuring it as a punch hole rather than trying to disguise it.
My tribute to every woman who has been a victim, there is always hope.