Domestic abuse workshop as therapy
Exhibitions | 25-04-2022

Glass workshops help domestic abuse survivors

An exhibition of glass art made during glass workshops for survivors of domestic abuse will be shown in London from 30 June to 3 July 2022. There will also be a programme of free talks about how glass can embody trauma.

Making art can be a powerful way to process trauma, but what happens when the material used is itself a mirror of someone’s lived experiences? Artist Roberta de Caro is exploring this concept with her award-winning project ‘From the Fragment to the Whole’, wherein glass becomes a metaphor for the experience of surviving domestic abuse. 

Art created from glass fragments during one-to-one workshops.

Roberta, a recent MA graduate in Art & Material Histories at City & Guilds of London Art School, has focused her research on glass, a material she works with in her art practice, appreciating its transformative power. 

She is running one-to-one glass making workshops for survivors of domestic abuse, where broken glass is used to create artworks and enables the participants to gain a new perspective on the process of healing from trauma. 

The artworks, made by fusing fragments together, are powerful symbols of their resilience. 

Roberta says, “I consider these artworks abstract documents of the survivors’ lived experiences; they all come to represent their stories, that are too often left untold.” 

These stories will come together as a collection, to be exhibited at Espacio Gallery, Shoreditch, London, from 30 June to 3 July 2022 (12-5pm daily; Sunday 10-1pm). 

Roberta continues, “Glass is a wonderful material to work with. It’s also full of contradictions: it’s transparent and opaque, sharp and tactile; it is both a very fragile medium and an incredibly resistant material that can break in a million pieces but can be fused back together into a whole. All these characteristics are connected to the issue of domestic abuse. 

“The idea that from fragility something beautiful and strong can emerge is the foundation of this project; piecing together fragments of glass can become a metaphor for the participants’ process of repairing the fragmented self, and rebuilding a life beyond abuse. It can be quite a cathartic experience. And one I understand from personal experience.”

The programme of free talks takes place on Saturday 2 July, from 2pm to 4pm. It features Roberta de Caro in conversation with esteemed artists Silvia Levenson and Philippa Beveridge, led by artist and philosopher Dr Matthew Rowe. Advance booking for the talks is required, via Eventbrite.

This project launched in 2019 during Roberta’s BA studies in Fine Art, when she was awarded the Student Initiated Project Prize by City & Guilds of London Art School. She worked with Coin Street Community Centre in South Bank to organise group workshops in 2020 but these were cancelled because of the pandemic. A shorter version of the project ran in May 2021 and was presented at the City & Guilds of London MA Interim Show 2021. 

The latest series of 30 workshops launched in February 2022, backed by Bede House Southwark, and runs until the exhibition in the summer. 

The artists supporting Roberta with this project are Jyoti Bharwani, David MacDiarmid and glass artist Philippa Beveridge. 

All proceeds from the sales of the artworks will fund future ‘From the Fragment to the Whole’ workshops, and donations will be made to the domestic abuse charity, Women’s Aid. 

This project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. 

The exhibition takes place at Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG. 

More information: 

Main image: Broken glass is used to create artworks and enables the participants to gain a new perspective on the process of healing from trauma.

Glass Network digital brings you all the latest news and features about contemporary glass

Send your news, feature ideas or advertising requests to the Editor Linda Banks


Supplier Directory