*Michelle Hickey. Photograph: Paul Corey
CLARE HAVEN SERVICES have launched a new multi-media art installation to increase awareness surrounding domestic abuse.
Shannon native and presenter of Morning Ireland, Rachael English launched ‘Hidden Truths Behind Closed Doors’, a new multi-media art installation which explores the themes of domestic abuse in Co Clare at the offices of Clare Haven Services on Wednesday evening to mark the sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence.
There are eleven rooms in the exhibition, each of which has a different message to impart and tells its own story whether it is the reasons people don’t come forward, the endless red tape for a woman trying to leave an abusive marriage, the hope that life will improve and resilience and bravery of women who come forward.
Dr Siobhán O’Connor, Manager of Clare Haven Services outlined that the exhibition took “a long time” to put together. Paul Corey and Rachael McManus were the project managers and creators of Hidden Truths with Birgit Schneemann, Michelle Hickey, Katie Elger, Jules Greystone and Mick Loughnane also involved as artists and technical designers.
Board member, Maggie Begley noted, “It is not our first artistic venture and I hope it isn’t our last”. She believed the exhibition brought to life the lived experiences associated with domestic abuse. Maggie said domestic violence was “an ongoing scourge” in Irish society.
Speaking at the launch, project manager, Rachael McManus admitted, “the normalness of domestic abuse struck me, it seemed so wrong”. Preparation for the exhibition involved attending Zoom sessions with Clare Haven which she described as overwhelming, “we wanted to highlight elements we learned but it is not possible to illustrate all elements of domestic abuse”. She said of people that inspired the works, “they are not victims, they are survivors”.
Michelle Burke, a native of Shannon recently graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design said it was a privilege that this was her first exhibition to be involved outside of college. “We must try to understand more, we need to stop turning our heads and break down the economic barriers that are stopping women from leaving abusive relationships”.
To have any involvement with the exhibition was “an honour,” Rachael English stated. The RTÉ presenter commended the work of Clare Haven Services. “It is a thought provoking and incredibly powerful piece of work,” she added. Frequent conversations on tightening of restrictions and lockdowns prompt great anxiety for persons living in difficult circumstances. “It is too soon to write about the impact of the pandemic but the people who suffered the most were in the worst position to begin with”.
Viewings of the exhibition are by appointment only between 10am and 4pm from Monday to Friday. Groups are limited to twenty people. To book call Anne or Elaine on 0656842646 or email email@example.com