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Stepping out from the shadows: exhibition to focus on domestic violence

A powerful body painting exhibition at Victoria University on 14 October will creatively tell the silent story of domestic violence.  

The exhibition If These Walls Could Talk will see 90 students from the University’s diploma of specialist make-up use body paint to camouflage 17 models against different panels of wallpaper.

When placed against the backdrop of intricate wallpaper panels, the models will fade into the background – a move steeped in symbolism – to highlight the faceless victims of domestic violence.

It will take more than six hours to meticulously paint each model.

Creative director Sam Pattison said the exhibition aims to show the lack of voice, fear and shame that women trapped in a cycle of domestic violence feel – while showcasing the student’s body painting skills.

It is estimated that one in six women experience domestic violence in Australia.

“Discovering that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women was a real revelation,” she said.

“We wanted to help raise awareness of this issue and the exhibition is our students way of making a statement … they have embraced this challenge knowing that domestic violence may well impact their lives.”

Ms Pattison said the body painting will highlight the students’ extraordinary skill as they replicate the delicate features of the wallpaper panels.

“It is really difficult to paint a moving, breathing body to exactly match the intricate wallpaper detail and it will certainly showcase the body painting skills they have developed during the course,” she said.

Money raised through donations will support White Ribbon, Australia’s only national, male-led campaign to end men’s violence against women.

Ms Pattison said the exhibition was community engagement at its best with many companies including Graham & Brown, Bunnings and video production company Mass Motion donating time and services.

“From the beginning, we have had nothing but good will from the community which goes to show how important this issue is,” she said.

About 250 people are expected to attend the exhibition. ENDS

Photos and interviews can be arranged.

What: If These Walls Could Talk exhibition

When: 6-8pm, Wednesday 14 October, 2015

Where: VU Metrowest, 138 Nicholson Street, Footscray.

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