Stories

Meet: Art Against Abuse

Meet Imogen Paton: founder of Art Against Abuse (an INCREDIBLE WOMAN). Imogen started this project to help victims of abuse outlet their feelings by drawing on old cars and will be joining us (with a car) at JAM ON RYE – as part of the Peckham Levels Presents: Se15-ssions stage, representing local artists both inside and out of Peckham Levels THIS BANK HOLIDAY MAY.

Thank you Imogen for sharing your story… full interview below. 

Your story behind and why I set up Arts Against Abuse

“Now this is a very long story but I’ll give you the nutshell version. Five years ago I fell in love with a charming, beautiful , well educated, softly spoken man who talked about charity and wooed me with his strong but somehow creative and free spirited nature. Fast forward two years and I was running to the police with our two day old son in my arms, fleeing for my life after two years of extreme violence, mental abuse, financial abuse and explanations as to how my life was going to be abruptly terminated and my death framed as suicide. Fast forward again 6 months and I was beginning my project with the car crash that is The Bad Karma Impala, the 1968 chevrolet impala that was smashed up by my ex and was literally the only thing I had left apart from my three beautiful children, their health and my own. During my recovery, I had been helped by an organisation called Solace Women’s Aid who not only supported me through my trauma and heart ache, but also provided me with an education as to what I had been victim to and the way in which I had been preyed upon. It was during this process that I began to realise the extent of the issue and just how many people were suffering in silence. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men. Before domestic abuse happened to me, it was not on my radar and I just felt a burning need to do something to educate the public on this crime and to ensure other victims got the same level of support that I had been so lucky to get and which was CRUCIAL to my healing. Fast forward two more years and here I am, running my own gender neutral, age neutral, sexuality neutral victim support organisation that uses the arts as a medium to crush stigma, end victim blaming and open dialogue about this subject so shrouded in secrecy and shame. I run several projects under the umbrella; cars for causes and t-shirt campaign I Own Me empowering individuals. I never imagined being here, feeling better and stronger than ever before in my life, but achieving my goal of making a difference and fighting for those without a voice by refusing to hide away my truth has given me a happiness far richer than the £180,000 I lost in just 8 months during that relationship could have ever made me had I been able to turn back the hands of time. My message is clear, victims of abuse are incredibly strong, come from all walks of life, and deserve respect, and you can turn your trauma around and be a happy once again. Phew…and that was the short version!!!!”


Tell us about your art, themes, how you do it and what it means to you
I am by trade a portrait artist, having studied locally at camberwell college of art where I did my degree in painting. I have always loved people, and the individual/shared stories that both binds and separates us all, so faces were naturally my point of interest being the portal to those defining experiences and allowing you to look inside.

A teaser of what you’ll be doing at Jam on the Rye?
I will be there with the Bad Karma Impala, inviting the public to adorn her smashed body work with colourful drawings and messages of hope, creating a visual metaphor for the car crash that lives can become and the possibility of a full recovery, but also a symbol of hope that as a community we can take something broken and battered and make it beautiful again. We ask people to donate a few quid to take part and the donations allow us to continue to support and empower victims and to raise awareness across community.

Favourite London restaurant?
I’m crazy about salt and pepper squid, so anywhere that does that gets my vote. I’m a veggie (with the exception of a little fish/squid here and there) and LOVE food so I couldn’t possibly choose one resturant

Which KERBanist are you most excited to try at Jam On Rye?
I’m really keen to move towards veganism as i’m really anti industrial scale farming so no doubt you will have someone who sings from that same sheet! Surprise me!

Favourite song?
Anything by Sam Cooke, I love me some old soul, but then again maybe Mr Bojangles by John Holt or some funk favourites of mine like Feed me your love by the Fatback Band.
What does reggae mean to you?
I LOVE reggae. I spent my most of my adolescence listening to it and can truly say it was music to my heart and soul.


Who are you most looking to performing alongside at JOR?

My stage is next to my car so i’ll leave the spotlight to the pros!


Favourite spot in Peckham?
Rye Wax in the Bussey building…great food and a nice unexpected vibe, plus its one of the first spots I went to with my new and very wonderful partner.

Fun fact?

I had a shrine to Elvis in my bedroom as a kid and half of my room was a chinchilla cage!

 

#JAMONRYE TICKETS HERE.