Artist honours 118 women killed by men by painting their portraits

An artist who is painting portraits of 118 women killed by men in a year has said she wants people to “remember” that the victims “aren’t just names”.

Artist and illustrator Henny Beaumont, 54, is working with the Centre for Women’s Justice and the Femicide Census to memorialise the women killed between March 11 2020 and March 11 2021.

Ms Beaumont, from London, said: “On International Women’s Day, Jess Phillips MP read the names of 118 women killed by men that year. The only name I’d heard of was Sarah Everard.

“As part of a drive towards remembering, honouring and making all of these women visible, I have committed to painting each and every one of them over the course of the next few months.

“Where there is no image available, I’m painting flowers.”

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Ms Beaumont said she has been in contact with several of the women’s families, and has sent them the original paintings.

She told the PA news agency: “It’s sort of heart-breaking.

“Everyone who’s contacted me has been incredibly positive. Knowing what it’s like when you’ve lost someone, you want people to remember and to appreciate the fact that you lost someone who you’ve loved.

“I try and paint them as lovingly and carefully as possible so it’s something that represents something that the family would want to see… I have that very much in mind all the time while painting.”

Ms Beaumont said she has been in contact with several of the women’s families (Henny Beaumont/PA)
Ms Beaumont said she has been in contact with several of the women’s families (Henny Beaumont/PA)

Ms Beaumont’s project started in March 2021, and she aims to be finished by the beginning of October.

She told PA: “It was basically after hearing Jess Phillips reading the list on International Women’s Day of 118 women, and then a combination of the publicity around Sarah Everard and the outpouring of anger and upset.

“Then also the sort of realisation that so many of the names on that list that I hadn’t heard of before. I decided that I needed to find out, and wanted to give faces to names.”

The artist underlined that her work would not be possible without Karen Ingala Smith, founder of Femicide Census, an organisation which provides information on women who have been killed by men in the UK.

She said: “I’m only able to do this work because of the tireless work of Karen Ingala Smith of Femicide Census and Counting Dead Women bringing these names to our attention over the last 12 years.”

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The artist is fundraising alongside the project, which will see money raised for Ms Beaumont to complete the paintings, with excess funds split between the Centre for Women’s Justice and Femicide Census.

She said: “These women aren’t just names or numbers, they’ve got loved ones left behind who miss them and love them.

“I have no illusion that it’s going to end violence against women, but if it helps raise awareness, or can help charities on the frontline, I’ll be delighted if it could raise money for them.

“Karen Ingala Smith has been working for 12 years with very little recognition… my work is not possible without the work that these other women have been doing for years.”

Between 2009 and 2018, 1,425 women were killed by men in the UK, according to the Femicide Census.