Notions of power, trauma, vulnerability, control and aspiration hang delicately by a thread. Little paper shoes adorned with desires, hopes, fears and pain form a suspended installation embodying personal accounts of the lingering shadow of domestic abuse; a culmination of twenty art therapy workshops across ten women’s refuges throughout the UK. Deconstructed memories and encounters manifest in ‘The Little Paper Slippers’ forming a fragile testimony of strength. The public display provides a voice of delicate tribute to the women, the artist and the power of art as therapy.
Emaciated wedding dresses, torn, shredded, punctured with fragments of glass, ‘The Power Behind The Throne’ and ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ evoke fears of intimacy, insecurity, internal suffering and an unravelling of debilitating emotion. A power struggle exists within the dishevelled forms – the need for power over oneself in conflict with a simultaneous necessity to relinquish a need for power – bearing a violent paradox. ‘The Paper Dress’, a blossom of temporary hope, provides an opportunity to contemplate aspiration and dreams both literal and metaphorical.
Created by Marie-Louise Jones, The Little Paper Slipper began as a new body of work exploring traumatic experiences and the effects of these experiences on the psyche. The work involved a series of socially engaged art workshops in refuges with women who have experienced domestic abuse. The year-long project involved a 2 month nationwide tour whereby women deconstructed notions of power, using the workshop as a therapeutic tool for expressing the effects of their abusive relationships. ‘The Little Paper Slippers’ contribute their responses whilst the remaining sculptures are a direct response by the artist herself.