Translate this page :

Our national office is operating remotely, for details on how to contact us and general info - read our coronavirus updates page.

Together for Mental Wellbeing stands against racism in all its forms - read our anti-racism commitment.

Charity art exhibition opens ‘Pandora’s box’ on violence and abuse against women

Posted on 25, April 2012

Women survivors of violence and abuse who have used art as a means of finding hope despite their experiences, as well as females who have used their art to create awareness of the issue, are to have their work exhibited in central London as a collaboration between mental health charity Together and AVA (Against Violence & Abuse).

Titled ‘Pandora’s Box’, the concept of the exhibition is based on the story of Pandora – in classic Greek mythology – believed to be the first woman on earth. The “box” was a large jar given to Pandora which contained all the evils of the world. ‘Opening Pandora’s box’ is used culturally to indicate the perils of curiosity and also unleashing the evils of the world. What most people forget is that when Pandora opened the jar, all its contents except for one item were released into the world. The one remaining item was HOPE.

Eve McDougall, curator at Together’s Our Space gallery and an artist featuring in the exhibition, said: “This exhibition personally resonated with me due to my own personal experiences as a survivor of domestic violence and abuse. Art was a tool for me – it helped me to escape from the overpowering feelings and as for many of the female artists in this exhibition, it gave me hope for recovery”.

Paintings and mixed media work will feature from artists and mental health service users from the following organisations: Together, Inter-Action MK, Mount Carmel Technology College, The Clothesline Project, Creative and Supportive Trust (CAST), Clean Break, Holloway Day Centre, The Butterfly Foundation, Rainbow Pathways, The Silk Group, The Haven Wolverhampton, Women in Special Hospital (WISH), Northumbria probation services and individual artists.

Heart of Gold, Karen Hierons

Davina James-Hanman, AVA Director said: “For women experiencing abuse and mental health issues, the process of producing art can help to them to cope with their experiences and create something beautiful out of something so painful.For those viewing the art, the exhibition is a hopeful one, providing the positive message that there is recovery, there is a new beginning and there is life after abuse.”

Karen Hierons, contributing artist and Together service user speaking of her piece “Heart of Gold” said: “Ever since I was a child I have experienced physical and mental abuse. It was as if no one saw me – I had no face, I was invisible – but what kept me going was hope; the one thing that no one could take away from me.”

Black eye 1

Sarah Wright, contributing artist, commenting on her piece “Black eye 1” said: “I painted black eyes from images of myself – my visual language helped me to describe the experiences I had been subjected to; the process enabled me to find a new way of making sense of it all from a different perspective”.

The exhibition runs from Friday 27 April – Thursday 24 May and is open Monday – Friday 10.30am – 5pm at The Together Our Space Gallery: 12 Old Street, London EC1V. Admission is free. Nearest tube is Barbican.


For further information please contact Robyn Clark, PR & Marketing officer at Together, Tel: 0207 780 7376/07734 870 065 or Email: