Each year I run art projects for clients of the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault in Melbourne. As well as developing creativity, learning skills and creating artworks, the project gives the women a self esteem boost as they discover their own talents to create beauty. Creativity helps them move from victimhood towards being self-assured and outward looking; women begin to see a bright future with new friends and new possibilities.
The SECASA calendar, published each year, features artworks created in this project. Every participant has work included in this beautiful and highly acclaimed calendar. Download a PDF here SECASA 2013 Calendar. As it’s co-designer, I want to create a calendar that people are happy to put up on their walls and at the same time, brings attention to sexual assault. By showcasing the work of victims, the calendar helps others see that there is life after abuse – it is possible to carve meaning from pain, and beauty from ugliness. It also shows – each day of the year – that help is available to them through organisations such as SECASA.
Participants in the art group see the inclusion their artwork in the the calendar as a public statement of their abuse as well as their recovery; it is a statement of their capacity to learn and create beauty. The quotes that accompany the artworks are gentle affirmations to help viewers manage each day.
It’s lovely to receive your gorgeous calendar. It brightens up my pin board each day. Manager Sexual Assault Crisis Line
If you are interested in this project, you may wish to look at my paper The Un’not’ting on an earlier blog, check out my website http://www.anneriggs.com for my thesis (on art and trauma), papers, comments from participants and calendars from previous years, or visit http://www.SECASA.com.au.