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Women in the arts: a picture speaks louder than words (UPDATED April 18th, 2014)

Engage women in low income urban areas and local artists in India to bring awareness about their contribution to families and society through art (paint and photography). We will involve local artists to display their artwork as well.

Photo of EarlyBird
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Our idea consists of two phases:

Phase 1: Invite artists to present their ideas about “Women’s contribution” including womens’ roles in their families and the society through art expression (photography, paint, sculpture, etc) in order to motivate women to explore more opportunities in life.

Phase 2: Involve local communities (women and girls) to communicate through art. Possible topics could be to describe their dreams, their ideal community among many.

The format:

Exhibition: Collaborating with local NGOs and museums in India to create an open space for locals to come and draw.

One day art project (easier approached by low-income areas):  NGOs bring canvas and tools to the community so that women and girls can express themselves through drawing

Possible exhibition places:

National Gallery of Modern ART
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the premier government funded arts organization in India
Pahel Educational Health & Social ActivitiesSociety

Explain your idea in one sentence.

We want to provide women a public presence in their communities through art.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

The value and the contributions of those women in India who take care of their families as housewives are sometimes overseen by their community. We are trying to empower them by making their contributions better understood by the public.

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

Women in low income urban areas. Artists. Their art will be displayed in public exhibitions. NGOs working with women issues in India.

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

Our team and local NGOs. We need support from local organizations to promote this project and get permissions to have the art exhibition in public; also get women involved in the process by expressing their values in the form of visual art.

Where should this idea be implemented?

We will first target low income urban areas in New Delhi.

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

We prototyped our idea at NYU in New York City, called Women in the Arts: a picture speaks louder than words. We setup a drawing booth in one of the university’s buildings during lunch hours, by inviting students come and draw their ideas and visions regarding women empowerment and safety. Their drawing cover different topics including gender equality, women in science, same-sex marriage and more. We are really impressed that we got so many support and ideas. All these drawings and collage we created are displayed on campus for a week during the Gender Violence Awareness week. And there are a few interesting observations we made during the prototyping: a) Male students were more actively engaged. b) Female students were more shy when we asked them. c) Asian students were particularly reluctant to participate. However, we got couple of Indian students who wanted to voice their views. d) A couple of lesbian couples approached our table and draw proudly their view about women empowerment. e) students who decided to participate were decisive and eager to sketch.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Natasha Freidus

I love the way you are integrating art into this work. I wonder if the drawing workshops and /or exhibits could include a policy element as well a la "Photovoice" Photovoice is a participatory method used in public healththat allows people to represent their issues and communities through photography. Participants are able to define for themselves areas of strength and needs for change, and the photos are used as a springboard for discussion and dialogue among the group and with policy makers at a final exhbition. I don't know if the method has been used with drawings in the way you are describing but I think it would be exciting. Here's a link for more info:

Photo of Sofia Zafeiropoulou

Thank you for your comments Natasha!

Photovoice is really interesting. We will definitely check what we could achieve through this method.

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