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Use public art to define and place value on local "empowered women".

Create a "Our women rule these streets" atmosphere in unsafe neighborhoods where women are viewed as the dominant and highest-valued component of the neighborhood.

Photo of DeletedUser
13 16

Written by DeletedUser

Lined with street art that portrays powerful woment and displays the wyas in which these types of female characters are valuable for men and the community.

Explain your idea in one sentence.

Create a robust collection of female protagonist street art to better set women on an empowered path of life and warm men up to that goal as well.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

There is a need to better value women in these environments. By articulating that value through art and forcing men to envision women in these environments, their view can change on the capabilities of women and the importance of their empowerment.

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

Communities that undervalue women and lack the ability to embrace them in creating positive social welfare due to stereotypes or biases of that particular area.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

Local artists, community members, feminists, governmental entities.

Where should this idea be implemented?

In areas where women are undervalued in society and there are pathways along which one can create large-scale murals.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

Focus on a particular area or neighborhood and measure impact for a few years compared to another near-by town/village/neighborhood.

13 comments

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Photo of Ivy Young
Team

I love this idea, Julian! So vibrant!

I agree that this should be led by local artists and also believe that the murals would best be supported by volunteers in the community where they will be created. Because murals are so large and often created for the communities in which they stand, many times volunteer painters from the direct community are needed to realize them. (I have worked as a volunteer painter for murals myself.) Vik Muniz is an acclaimed artist who works specifically to empower low income communities around the world by creating large installation art projects with their help - you can see a wonderful documentary on Muniz's work in /Wasteland/ (trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNlwh8vT2NU). Perhaps this will help feed your inspiration!

Precita Eyes, an arts nonprofit in San Francisco (website here: http://www.precitaeyes.org/), may also provide some great models for how to realize mural projects for, with, and by the community. In some cases murals can be co-designed by many individuals and helped realized by artists. In other cases murals can be designed by one or more artists and then painted by a group of volunteers as overseen by the artist lead....

I agree with you & Tomo that there is a lot of potential here to create meaning and impact throughout the whole process and that it is important to include both genders. With that said, there is also some great potential to really promote local female artists and aspiring artists in the mural designs and directions. Just imagine being able to see your aspirations and hopes painted on the city walls of your community - that sends a real message, both to viewers and to artists.

Photo of Sofia Zafeiropoulou
Team

That's a great idea Julian! It would be great to see public places around the world so naturally colored with pictures of women. This tool that could effectively pass messages to the subconscious of viewers.

As a team we are also using art as our tool to empower women and to bring awareness about their contribution to families and society through art. We will involve local artists to display their artwork as well.

You can check our idea here:
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/women-in-the-arts-a-picture-speaks-louder-than-words

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

See:) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS_ETXUYsZM&feature=player_detailpage#t=4042

Photo of Tomo Stojanovic
Team

it could work - but even better to promote equality - both sexes could collaborate on these murals - make a party out of it - where people from the neighborhood would meet and interact - the more people you know in the neighborhood - the safer you will feel

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Tomo, I like that Idea. Its get me thinking about the potential in celebrating not just the result but also the process. One of my underlying desires is to make men more accepting of an empowered woman and for women to better foresee themselves as empowered (in whatever cultural environment that relates). I wonder if there is an way to challenge a paradigm by saying men that dont contribute are less empowered than the women in the murals (the social norms too much bind them to be considered equally powerful as their female counterparts). Thanks for the inspiration!

Photo of Tomo Stojanovic
Team

I like all your ideas. I completely agree with what you said - accepting women as equal is what we need - but I think that's often cultural. Where I come from (Serbia) I have always felt complete equality - even in the deep countryside. Women were always at least as powerful as men - if not more. We need each other obviously and family is a source of happiness. I've lived in England and I noticed there was almost a war between sexes (and most of my English friends married foreign women). That didn't make any sense to me - and then years later I read how women there were not allowed to vote until relatively recently - that created scars in society that are often hard to heal.
We need more equality - not favoring a specific sex - I'd like everyone (including women) to expect and fight for equality in every possible way from early in life. Forget about what this or that god 'said' about who is in charge - equality is the best for everyone - especially children - and that's how they are in many countries. In many countries they have segregated schools (boys or girls only - no mixing). I think that is also damaging - I can't even imagine what that would look like.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Oooh, great insights about England and recent "western" ideals. Appreciate the sharing.

Photo of Tomo Stojanovic
Team

I got that info (about history of inequality) and many more very interesting stories in this great book written by the director of British Museum:

http://www.amazon.com/A-History-World-100-Objects/dp/0670022705/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396667819&sr=8-1&keywords=the+history+of+the+world+in+100+objects

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Thanks for all the positive feedback!

Photo of Clayton Gibson
Team

My suggestion would be to make the portraits highly specific - portraying real women in the neighborhood. Maybe an online resource or app to generate templates for creating murals in particular artists' styles (since nobody can do that many free murals around the world).

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Exciting idea, Julian. Do you think you might involve the women in low-income communities to be part of creating the artworks? Thought you might like to check out this post form our Research phase as you evolve your idea further: http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/creativity-sparks-community-conversations

Would be interesting to hear more details about specifics on prototyping this (you might even like to try something out in your own community to see what you might learn to grow your idea) Here's some tips: http://ideo.pn/pr0t0type

Photo of Vishal Jodhani
Team

Julian, I love how this idea is so simple in it's nature and yet so powerful. I'd love to see this on streets around the world. It'll be great to engage men and women to create all the art. And it'll be amazing to see how the art could be relevant to the local contexts.

Also, interesting parallels with Neil's idea of comic books: http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/free-comic-books-featuring-indian-heroines

Photo of Sarah Schoengold
Team

I love this idea, Julian. It reminds me of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh's project "Stop Telling Women to Smile.” In her series, she addresses street harassment by wheat pasting images of women in public spaces, with slogans frankly addressing their offenders. Both Tatyana’s project and this idea portray women as fearless in public spaces where they’re often made to feel the most uneasy.

These bold portrayals of women could empower many on their commutes and daily life, and serve as a constant reminder of women’s power and potential.