Breaking Out: A Way to Find Peace and Reclaiming Power

Category: arts 274

Emily Dow’s summer residency for the Fredericton Arts Alliance runs July 11-17.

Fredericton Arts Alliance

Emily Dow, survivor of relationship abuse, will attempt to depict the pain and challenges one must overcome to ‘break out’ of a toxic or abusive relationship in order to find peace and happiness again.

During Dow’s residency for the Fredericton Arts Alliance, July 11-17, she wants to portray not only her story of “breaking out,” but the stories of others who have experienced the same thing.

“I will create a 12″ x 36″ oil painting on canvas, incorporating ideas from victims, 2SLGBTQIA+ and the general public,” she said. “I want to encourage discussion about abuse and healing.”

Dow, a visual artist, will paint a glass heart cracking with hands attempting to break it open. Black, toxic sludge inside the heart, will symbolise the suffering and poison a victim of abuse must overcome through a breakup. Inside the heart, there will be purity and beauty.

“This demonstrates that in order to become free and happy, a person sometimes must break their own heart, break out of a relationship with a person they care for, and overcome all the pain that comes with it,” she said. “It is difficult but necessary.”

Dow’s work will be collaborative. She wants other victims of abuse to help her in depicting the beauty and purity inside the heart in her painting. Anyone who wants to contribute can pick their favourite colour and paint anything they like—a flower, their initials, a simple brushstroke, etc.

“In choosing their favourite colour, I feel people are also finding and showing the world themselves as individuals,” she said.

“During my abusive relationship, I sacrificed everything to make my abusive partner happy, including my individuality,” she added. “I had trouble remembering even my favourite colour for a while.”

Dow is planning to do her pop-up in Odell Park, weather permitting, July 16, at 2 p.m. She is looking forward to meeting people of all ages, LGBTQIA+ individuals, victims, and non-victims at her event.

“I hope that many people will be interested in helping me create my painting, asking me questions, or sharing their own stories – if comfortable.”

The Fredericton Arts Alliance is grateful for the support from the City of Fredericton and downtown Fredericton for making these residencies possible.

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