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Empowering Art: Broken to Brilliant Reveals Co-Created Gown at Inaugural Exhibition on International Women's Day

Broken to Brilliant, in collaboration with Sandbag and Strong Women Talking, proudly launched our inaugural Empowerment Through Art Exhibition, on International Women's Day, March 8, 2024, at 6 pm. The launch was hosted at 'ART from the Margins' in Fortitude Valley, this exhibition marked a significant milestone in the journey of healing and empowerment for domestic violence survivors. Made possible by the generous support of the Queensland Government's 2023 Investing in Queensland Women grant.

This exhibition featured compelling multimedia artworks created by domestic violence survivors during DV-ART therapy sessions. Through these poignant and cathartic expressions, survivors have discovered a pathway to healing, finding solace, establishing their voices, and fostering connections with others who have endured similar challenges.

Drawing from her own lived experience, Kerry, a Sunshine Coast-based Art and Somatic Psychotherapist, and an author in the Broken to Brilliant books guided survivors through their healing journey using art.

Kerry shared, "Creative therapy removes the need for our minds to know what we need to say. People can easily express themselves through colours, shapes, brush strokes, fabric, lace and tulle." Using storytelling through art, survivors can process trauma in a safe and supportive environment, alleviating long-term mental and physical health challenges.

Broken to Brilliant Transformational Gown created during DV-ART therapy

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the Transformational Gown, a collaborative repurposed art form that emerged from art and somatic movement psychotherapy processes. The gown joins 25 individual authentic pieces, hand-sewn using heart chakra-colored tulle.

Embedded in the tulle are children’s toys, representing the interruption of innocent lives and dreams, with the Monopoly game symbolizing homelessness and toy animals serving as a reminder of pets left behind. The figurine represents those strangled by perpetrators, including the young.

The gown symbolizes the journey from brokenness to refabrication, as lives are sewn back together. Immersed in its layers are heartfelt transformational words revealing survivors' transition from post-traumatic stress to post-traumatic growth – ‘Free, free to be me,’ ‘Brave,’ ‘Transcend,’ and ‘Metamorphosis’.

The hand-sewing and collaborative creation of the gown inspired some artists to write poems about their experiences.

A participant in the DV-ART program wrote, "Together we weaved, our own unique styles, choosing colours, textures and threads, selection of bits, lace and pearls, buttons and beads…Hours went by, Immersed in art, healing hearts….”

Another participant, moved by the creative sewing process, wrote, Breaking through, breaking free from threads which no longer fashioned true self. Discarding fabrics that downgraded Me. Piecing together, of my own free will... Piecing together to build a revised version of a happier, better new self.”

Bob Atkinson, Patron  Broken to Brilliant and former Queensland Police Commissioner

Former Queensland Police Commissioner and Broken to Brilliant Patron Bob Atkinson said, “I am deeply moved by the profound impact of the Empowerment Through Art Exhibition. It celebrates survivors' resilience and showcases the transformative power of art in healing. These survivors are reclaiming their voices and inspiring hope. Together, let us continue to support and uplift those on their journey to healing and recovery”.

Broken to Brilliant is an Australian charity founded and operated by domestic violence survivors, dedicated to mentoring fellow survivors to recover, heal and rebuild their lives. Through a range of services and programs, the charity empowers survivors, providing hope and support every step of the way. The Empowerment Through Art Exhibition was held the week of the 11-15th March 10 am to 4 pm at Art From the Margins, 136 Brunswick Street Fortitude Valley.


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