A public fundraising campaign in underway for the state’s first dedicated memorial to victims of domestic violence, an interactive sculptural garden in the Adelaide CBD.
To be located in Mirnu Wirra (Park 21 West) in the Adelaide Park Lands on South Terrace, the Place of Courage will feature a striking black granite sculpture depicting two monoliths ringed by gentle ocean ripples, set in landscaped gardens.
Designed by renowned South Australian sculptural artists Christine Cholewa and Deb Jones, in partnership with Kiri Bowmer of urban design company Oxigen, Place of Courage will be a space for reflection, recognising the survivors of domestic and family violence and honouring its victims.
The project is the brainchild of 87-year-old domestic violence survivor and activist Helen Oxenham, of advocacy organisation Spirit of Woman, and is based on community feedback from more than 500 people affected by family violence.
Ms Oxenham, who was the driving force behind one of Adelaide’s first women’s shelters in Christies Beach during the 1970s, says Place of Courage will be a peaceful and contemplative space to commemorate the scores of Australian women killed every year by their loved ones, and to educate the community about the “silent war” of domestic violence.
“This year 60 women have been killed by a current or former partner in Australia – that’s two women murdered every week, on average. And yet the depth of domestic violence in Australia, and the number of people it impacts, still remains largely hidden,” Ms Oxenham said.
“We need a place to honour family violence victims and survivors and to help us break the cycle of this silent war. The Place of Courage will be a focal point for remembrance, and for the community to come together to celebrate collective courage, healing and harmony and share our hopes for a future Australia free from violence.
“In creating this community space, a peaceful place of comfort and healing, we can encourage survivors of family violence to speak up and speak out.”
Artists Christine Cholewa and Deb Jones said their design was based around the concept of water ripples.
“’Ripple’ is an appropriate word and visual to use because while it is a perfect analogy for the pervasive effects of domestic violence and its far reaching effects it is also, by its nature, a great representation of how positive actions of love, kindness and care go on to help many.
“On a practical level we thought it might help us facilitate the need for this public place to have different zones with quite different requirements, from hard-hitting facts to hopeful futures, private spaces and large congregational areas. Each of the areas of the public work is a ripple ring in our design.”
Stage One concept designs have been funded by the State Government through Arts South Australia, the Adelaide City Council and White Ribbon. Now Spirit of Woman is seeking $15,000 in corporate and public funding to get the project to the next stage: full design, site planning and construction, with the aim of completion by the end of 2019.
Following the successful realisation of the Place of Courage in the Adelaide CBD, two additional related works are proposed for development in the southern and northern suburbs.