Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Freedom to Create, Empowering Women Art Exhibiton.

Favianna Rodriguez- 'Fight Patriarchy' The small print on the painting says 'of the 50 Million displaced from their homelands, 80% are women and children. Of the 1.3 Billion of people living on less than $1 per day 70% are women. SECOND PART- Sex trafficking is one of the highest grossing industries world wide. Among the hungriest people of the world 60% are women.
I was asked last minute, to go to a 'Freedom to Create' Forum and opening of the 'Freedom to Create exhibition in New York, at the Ana Tzarev Galley 24 W57th Street.
'Freedom to create' describe themselves as a vehicle to 'enable the world to realise it's potential', they consider Art as the 'universal language that has the power to create, communicate, inspire, comfort and counsel.'
It is through art- 'a non threatening and non-controversial interaction' that they focus, on societies that face political repression, intolerance, ignorance and religious extremism which inhibit creative expression, especially for women. And it is from these societies which exhibit in the gallery today.
All have a message, and something to inform us of, this is just a mere selection of some of the injustice faced today, facing both men, women and children. It is a moving exhibition, showing painful scenes which would never make the evening news, and sometimes not even the debate table.
The empowerment of the oppressed is something I believe strongly in, and this brave exhibition in this melting pot that is New York, is contributing to help breaking the barriers and championing creative, economic and political freedoms. Some of the artists were expelled from their homeland as a result of their art.

Hana Hajjar- Satire with Paul the predicting octopus.
 This is Hana Hajjar, from Saudi Arabia, whose cartoons often depict the difficult situations Saudi women find themselves,"I think men have put women in an unfavorable position in this part of the world. They've put women in an oppressive situation," said Hana, She works for a English language newspaper Arab news. Although women are not often outspoken in the Arab world Hana says she has faced no repercussions of her work.

Fernando Moleres- African Children in prison.
This is one of the photographs of a child in an African jail, though not sure where in Africa. There are Laws against the persecution of children, but despite this, they are placed in cells with adults. The pictures are painful and graphic. Many are orphaned and of course poor. One can only hope these photo's do what they are intended: to make the Government to review the laws, so that these children might lead better lives.
Abir Abdullah- Bangladesh "Shattered faces'

These two graphic images are of women were facially disfigured from acid attacks because they refused a mans sexual advances or marriage proposals.
This particular ladies face haunts me, as she still looks quite scared and afraid, still, with the love for her child in her arms, she holds it up to her face as if to heal.
The photographer hopes that these images raise awareness on the brutality against these women, and hope that the men involved see this and will  deter them from taking such a cruel and inhumane step.

Abir Abdullah- Bangladesh- "Shattered Faces'
There were also stinging things that I learned, Maureen Burdock- who makes graphic art called the 'F Word Project' had a comic strip which detailed 3 women wearing the Hijjab, one women said 'My husband thought I was staring at other men, so he hurt my eyes' and another said 'My husband thought other men were looking at me, so he cut off my nose' both women, were drawn with eyes gouged and nose missing respectively. Her art is designed to increase awareness of Women's struggles around the world. Dealing with female infanticide, honour killing and sexual abuse, she says 33% of girls have been molested before the age of 18 in the USA.

There are many more injustices detailed in this one floor art show, and such creative ways to portray them, music, dancing, performance art, theatre are only a few. I haven't even talked about the competition and the winners, because in fact all at the exhibition seem like winners and all such worthy issues and causes. If you get a chance, go check it out, it's Free and it will be in NYC until April 23rd, then it will move to Mumbai, India. It has already been to London, Hong Kong, Harare and Kabul.

Freedom to Create really does host the uncomfortable reality of so many lives but as the exhibition aims it also hosts the voices of courage, reconciliation, strength, unity, healing and hope, very inspiring and so much to be grateful for, and to speak up for!


  1. Thankyou for sharing' it's a very sad and disturbing truth that such suffering and crimes are carried out every moment of everyday whilst so many of us just go on about our daily lives...

    To speak up and speak out if one can for the rights of others, through petitions, protest, exhibitions and any and every other way of helping raise attention and ease suffering is an essential kindness and justice if one has the freedom to do it.

    Images such as these should be hung in every parlimentary and government office to remind those that serve why they are really there.

  2. I completely agree Melanie, love your idea of this being in every parliamentary and government office, perhaps that would really affect change?