Safe Space is a powerful new art installation by emerging artist Shelley Watters.
It explores the impact of gender-based violence in our community during 16 Days of Activism, (#16daysofactivism) a United Nations-led worldwide campaign to eliminate violence against women.
The cocoon-like forms made of bedsheets examine the physical, emotional, and psychological damage of violence and coercive control that is inflicted on survivors. At the time of announcement 39 women had been killed this year due to violence, according to Destroy the Joint’s Counting Dead Women Australia. There will also be an accompanying audio-described and tactile experience.
Safe Space will donate 50% of profits from sales of photographic prints and wearable-art to the long-running feminist, grassroots organisation the Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre (WAGEC) that has served the Redfern community since 1977. WAGEC supports 200 women and children each night that are impacted by homelessness, domestic violence, and systemic disadvantage.
At 2pm on Sunday 10 December (Human Rights Day) Watters will do an artist talk and WAGEC will deliver a free two-hour gender-based violence bystander and ally workshop that will support the community to understand the root causes and safely intervene. This workshop will be Auslan interpreted.
Shelley Watters lives and creates in Marrickville (on unceded Gadigal and Wangal land). Her art practice probes themes of temporality, feminism, power, and community in global and personal contexts. Her work has been included in group shows at Articulate Project Space, George Paton Gallery, and the Women’s Library, Newtown.
Earlier this year, she presented Surveillance, a body of work comprising photography, installation, and painting at Scratch Art Space, Marrickville. Watters has been practising since 2017 alongside part-time study, she will graduate from Sydney College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2024. She is an accomplished senior arts worker with 20 years’ experience in marketing and communications – most recently at the Sydney Opera House.