9 January – 31 January
GASLIGHTING is a group art exhibition showcasing the work of artists who have had direct experience of domestic abuse (1). The result is a selection of personal work on this theme that includes photography, film, animation, performance, poetry and painting. Each artist's perspective is unique, and the creative strategies used vary—some projects are on-going, some are part of a trilogy of expression, others are one-offs—yet the role of abusive power and control in the domestic context is central and is shared.
The term gaslighting refers to a specific form of emotional abuse that can lead a person to question their sanity (2). The psychological and emotional framework inhabited by these artists informs this exhibition and is vital to understanding these artworks, as is the lived experience they share as adult survivors of abuse in intimate relationships as well as abuse witnessed as children. Despite differences in personal histories, there are common themes—power and control, the plasticity of memory and linear narratives, trauma, healing, bearing witness, and the fight for justice.
Artist and activist Miranda Gavin both curates and contributes work and in so doing highlights creative approaches that combine media and collapse boundaries between the public and the private. For some of the artists, this is the first time they have made the series public, so the use of pseudonyms offers protection. The digital exhibition also includes shortlisted poster designs from an open-call competition aiming to raise awareness of domestic violence during Covid-19, referred to as the Shadow Pandemic by the UN (3)(4).
In the spirit of inclusivity, viewers will be invited to contribute links to resources and art works focused on domestic abuse globally, and a printed zine, Tough Cookie, featuring the artists’ works, interviews and poetry will be available. All the artists included have survived, but some—mostly women—do not. At its core, this exhibition is a call to action and a space of activism, education, and hope.
The participating artists are Pacheanne Anderson, Tee Chandler, Miranda Gavin, Lidia Lidia,
Mooncoin, Laura Noble, Ellen Nolan, and Susan Young.