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Survivors of domestic and sexual abuse share art through healing journey

Archway art exhibit opens

Tracey Prediger

As a young girl Elizabeth Gerwing found solace from the things in her life she couldn’t control, by shading with a pencil on a scrap piece of paper.

Now her work will be showcased among survivors of domestic and sexual abuse as part of a new exhibit opening at the Caetani Centre Studio in Vernon.

“Art’s been kind of like my support since I was a little child, going through the things I’ve been through and so art has helped me not trap it in my body which can actually help get you sick or have you have depression and all those things,” says Gerwing who participated in several workshops hosted by countless volunteers under the umbrella of Archway Society for Domestic Peace.

As Archway’s volunteer coordinator, Cindy Klassen, is hoping to draw attention to the exhibit entitled Creatirx Rising.

“Creatrix is a feminine creator and the rising is really one of our images that we’ve used throughout is the phoenix kind of coming out of the ashes and I think it’s really something I can attest to having been able to see these women through the program,” she says.

“I want people to know about Creatrix Rising because it’s an opportunity for the community to come out and see what women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence have been able to put together,” says Klassen.

Klassen is also hoping people enjoy the art as much as the women did in making it, “They talk about how meaningful it was to connect in that way with art and just feel that, a lot of times healing and regeneration of some of the things that are deep down inside” Klassen says.

“Every painting has a different meaning and a different connection so I’m looking forward to showing all those things out,” Gerwing says.

During their workshops, the women were introduced to encaustic, pottery and poetry giving them more choice with their artistic outlets.

Creatrix Rising runs every day except Sunday from March 5 - 14. A special opening night celebration of International Women’s Day will run Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and is RSVP only. For a complete list of exhibit opening hours click here. The free event is open to the public and any donations will be put toward future Archway Society programs.



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