Local artist Amanda Firenze is helping women take back power after tales of abuse

Local artist Amanda Firenze is helping women take back power after tales of abuse

Words by Mackenzie Pennycook

Local artist Amanda Firenze is channelling her passion of social activism into her printmaking work with her newest creation ‘Paper Women’, and she needs your help.

Portarlington based artist Amanda Firenze is using her platform to encourage conversations surrounding violence against women and gender-based violence.

Amanda is making a call out to any women who have suffered abuse to share their stories with her and be included in the artwork, with the submissions remaining completely anonymous.

Titled ‘Paper Women’, the aim of the artwork is to connect women and ensure that all stories are heard, shining a light on people who are typically powerless in situations of abuse and give the power back to them. The ‘Paper Women’ piece will be a paper chain of female figures, all wearing dresses printed with the stories of abuse and trauma that Amanda has received from her anonymous female participants.

Amanda is hoping to shine a light on the abuse women suffer every day, whilst also wanting to ensure that the women sharing their stories know that aren’t alone and that they’re always supported.

“I’m wanting to use those stories to connect people and show them that there not alone and through that connection generate social change.”

The ‘Paper Women’ piece encourages women to share their stories of survival of abuse, every submission is welcome, from stories of catcalling, tales of domestic gender-based violence or sexual assault.

“No story or response is too big or too small, the small responses I’ve received have the same amount of power as the longer responses I’ve received.

“There’s no editing or no judgement here, the stories can come in any language, it’s just about putting down on paper what we have experienced,” she explains.

After taking a break from the printmaking industry, Amanda is back and is ready to fight for social justice, starting with this open artwork.

“I’m taking my passion for social activism and working it into my art,” says Amanda.

“That’s the best way I can help change things in the world, and as we know things in the world desperately need to change.”

The artwork wasn’t only inspired by Amanda’s drive to promote change; it was also developed as a way to help women deal with the trauma of their experiences. The hope for the artwork is that getting experiences down on paper and seeing them turned into an art installation will act as a cathartic experience for the women.

While Amanda is open to receive all and any stories of trauma and abuse, she is making a particular call out for middle-aged and older women who may not have felt comfortable sharing their stories until now in 2021. Relying on submissions of stories from women to be completed, Amanda is hoping the piece will be an ongoing project with submissions always welcome and pieces being consistently added to the project.

“I’ve got about 20 stories so far and I’m really hoping for more, I don’t see that this artwork will ever have to stop if I continue to get responses from women.”

The submissions to Amanda can remain completely anonymous, postcards are available for collection and submissions can be written and sent back, otherwise, a SurveyMonkey survey allows for submissions of stories or if writing isn’t really your thing a checkbox option allows for a quick and easy submission to the project.

Head to Amanda’s website here to read more about the project, or to see how you can contribute to ‘Paper Women.’