British singer and television personality Mel B (aka Scary Spice) is throwing her support behind efforts to stop violence against women in Australia by donating a pair of her shoes to the collaborative art installation Red Shoes Australia.
The signed red shoes are accompanied by a powerful personal message from the artist urging people to stand together to end the abuse.
Red Shoes Australia pays homage to Mexican artist Elina Chauvet and her 2009 art project Los Zapatos Rojos (The Red Shoes) which was created to give a voice to women who are now invisible due to violence.
This year it will be replicated in Kalgoorlie in the Western Australian outback as part of the 16 Days in WA 2023 campaign.
In line with Elina Chauvet’s ethos of placing pairs of donated red shoes in an iconic city space a body length apart, the art installation will use the forecourt of the Museum of the Goldfields as its canvas.
Collaborating with the Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre, the Museum will run a series of workshops to involve local community members in painting hundreds of pairs of women’s shoes red for the sobering visual reminder of lives lost to violence.
By the time Mel B’s red shoes arrive in the Goldfields for the installation’s opening on 25 November 2023 they will have travelled a 14,800 km journey from her home in Leeds.
The singer who talks about her own experience of being in an abusive relationship in her autobiography Brutally Honest said she is honoured to be part of such an inspirational and important initiative.
“My personal mission as Patron of Women’s Aid in the U.K. is to raise awareness of abuse and violence against women,” she said.
“It is a worldwide pandemic. We need to stand together; we need our voices to be heard and we need the world to listen.”
Mel B said Elina has poured her pain - and the pain of thousands of women and their families - into a work of art that needs to be seen and to be felt.
“I am proud to be represented by my red shoes,” she said.
Red Shoes Australia Ambassador, Dr Paola Magni, said she is enormously grateful to Mel B for contributing to this year’s event which will have special significance for regional and Indigenous women.
“Mel B is using her profile to raise much needed awareness about domestic violence and femicide,” she said.
“It is a reminder that violence against women doesn’t discriminate, and we all have a role to play in speaking up and calling for change.”
Dr Magni said Mel B’s red stilettos will become a part of the legacy red shoe collection that will form part of Red Shoes Australia wherever it is replicated.
“Last year’s Red Shoes Australia project at WA Museum Boola Bardip was the Australian debut for Los Zapatos Rojos and we were honoured to receive shoes and heartfelt messages from the families of victims of violence as well as high profile female leaders,” she said.
“Mel’s shoes will continue to journey around Australia with these shoes providing the foundation for each community’s local contribution.
Red Shoes Australia will be at the Museum of the Goldfields from 25 November to 10 December 2023.