Erisman Studios

Figurative and Portrait Painting

Faces of Domestic Violence

TAKE Zine: The Visual.  Spring 2015 Faces of Domestic Violence:  Research and Artist Collaboration.

"Faces of Domestic Violence" is a collaborative process between a Doctoral student in sociology, Wendy Aujla, and an Edmonton based artist Heidi Erisman.  The goal of the project is to further disseminate the research findings of Wendy's Master's Thesis project titled "Voicing Challenges:  South Asian Immigrant Women Speak Out about their Experience of Domestic Violence and Access to Services" and to recognize how these findings may be echoed in other ethno-cultural communities.  The paintings have been displayed at several events in Edmonton, Alberta since 2014.  

Wendy interviewed seven South Asian immigrant women to capture their narratives of abuse.  Heidi, then read the MA thesis to listen for the details provided by each woman (e.g. type of abuse, the abuser, the fears or challenges in reporting to informal or formal sources, and the socio-demographics of each participant).  Heidi then met with Wendy, on several occasions, to discuss commonalities and differences in the women's abusive experiences and to share reflections that would help produce seven representations.  For ethical reasons, to protect the identity  of the women, the paintings are not real portraits of the women, however, their story can still be told and heard from their perspective through the painting. 

The paintings are touching, meaningful and one way to break the silence of domestic violence.  Through the paintings one realizes how painful the journey of abuse can be.  Heidi's art brings the stories to life again.  The pain can be felt through the emotions used to capture, yet reflect each woman's personal struggles.  

The seven stories are reflected in Wendy's these work which is accessible here:    Please send any comments, questions, or suggestions about this article to

Intellectual Property: The figures included in the printed materials available are protected by copyright laws and all rights belong to Wendy Aujla.  Please cite anything you use from the printed materials and do not modify or reproduce any part of it, unless you have explicitly received granted permission in writing.  The images included in the printed materials and the actual paintings on display is the property of Heidi Erisman and protected under Canadian Copyright laws.  The paintings may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without written permission.  All images are copyrighted Heidi Erisman