“Paper Women takes women’s stories/experiences of abuse and uses them to create an artwork. Women can either write their story or indicate the types of abuse they have suffered through a checkbox survey. Their stories and experiences are then printed into the artwork – one paper woman per response, forming part of a chain of women,” explains Portarlington artist Amanda Firenze.
“So far 54 responses have been received. The artwork has been exhibited at the Geelong Library and the Vines Road Community Centre. It is currently on display at the Rosewall Community Centre. Check out my website to see where it is going next. The paper women are also displayed online, with permission. All printed stories are anonymous to protect women’s identities and can also be submitted anonymously. My website and information on where you can submit is listed below.
“Another project, The Privilege-O-Meter, is still in the design phase. It is going to be a movable, projected street artwork that will be an interactive quiz to help people understand the concept of privilege and determine how privileged they are.
“This project led me to researching circus costumes, which led me to the role stripes have played in clothing over the years (in the middle-ages striped clothing was a sign of an outcast or someone who needed to be contained). So now I am obsessed with black and white striped clothing and try to wear something stripey every day.
“I’m also obsessed with old caravans and have just purchased a 1978 Millard van to turn into an art studio in our backyard.
“My formal training was actually in science and people are often confused about how to relate that to me being an artist – I am not your standard ‘creative’ personality type that is for sure. But I am a strong believer that a lot of art is technical skills – with time and interest, people can develop these and once they are confident in their technical skills, then their artistic style develops from there. Put more simply – if you want to be an artist, you can be.
“I’ve been printing for about 15 years now. What started as a way to escape the house and small kiddies by doing a visual arts certificate at TAFE, has ended up being an ongoing passion. From selling prints and kids’ books at markets, through to having solo art exhibitions and winning a fairly major art prize, and now focussing on using my art to help bring about social justice, my printing and writing has given me purpose and brought me immeasurable joy.”
Women can submit their stories directly to Amanda via email firstname.lastname@example.org
By post PO Box 121, Portarlington VIC 3223
Or anonymously through Survey Monkey surveymonkey.com/r/85T2YG5.
To read more about the artwork and see examples of what the submissions end up looking like, visit printchange.wordpress.com/paper-women