Sunday 7 April 2019

How Women Against Violence Showed Strength In Destiny

Fertility by Folashade Adebowale.
Artists who are mostly under the age of 30 recently made statements in visual culture to celebrate the strength of women.
 In paintings and sculptures, the artists converged to add their voice to the increasing campaign to stop violence against women.

Onyinye Zennia, Folasade Adebowale, Jolaoluwal Lawal, Obi Chigozie, Oby Okala Frances, Arogunmati Omoyemi, Uche Okonkwo, Imuede Adulphina, Bertha Onyekachi, Kesa Freda, Augustina Chinelo Obi, Sophia Omoh, Charity Ide, Ayo Olamide Adesola, Gbojubola Obatuyi and Lasode Opemipo expressed themselves in creative context at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. The exhibition, titled Destiny was part of the twin show organised by Alexis in collaboration with Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF). During the same week, the gallery showed Femme, also an all female artists exhibition.

Shown in the week of International Women's Day 2019, Destiny exoposed the depth of creativity in both the established and new artists of the exhibition. One of the artists, Freda, whose work titled Truthfulness spoke about how women should always look beyond "just producing  children." Her work depicts that much with quite some poetic brushings on canvas.

In Shade's 'Take it or Leave it', comes a focus on women approaching labour room period. The artist's concept peeps into the feeling if women pregnant ladies, particularly at the crucial period of delivery.

Self-taught artist, Uche Okonkwo expressed her feelings in what she calls Gold Fish has no Hidding Place.

And still on resilience, Arogunmati's work titled Expectation celebrates women's mental and physical strength, while Ayoola takes a look at both sides of the coins in any given endeavour.
In the areas of techniques and styles, artists like Lasode, Lawal and Onyinye have quite a lot to share. For example, Lasode's short experience of four years with calligraphy adds to her stroke's fluidity on the canvas. For Lawal, she said "I love experimenting with whatever materials I found, trying to contribute to the technological world." With nail and thread materials, Onyinye speaks so much in a piece titled  'World Apart'.

The exhibition, which had a total of 70 works, Alexis Galleries explained, was also a mix of known and fresh artists. "Some of them are known and some unknown as Alexis believes in giving the young artists a platform to showcase their talent."

The gallery noted that  general theme for Destiny just as Femme is ‘Violence Against Women’ which refers to behaviour by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours ––– rape being the most common, yet women are often blamed when this takes place and some keep this to themselves due to shame or stigma.

"The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."
WARIF is a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, in response to the high incidence of sexual assault, rape and human trafficking occurring amongst young girls and women across Nigeria.

WARIF is a centre for sexual assault referral centre, established in 2016 to provide a safe haven for survivors of rape and sexual assault. They offer free medical care, counselling, shelter and legal aid to victims. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the foundation.

“The WARIF Advocacy Through Arts (WTA) is a new initiative by our organization which seeks to create awareness: change behavioural patterns; and discourage gender-based violence in tertiary institutions across Nigeria.”

 The exhibition was supported by Pepsi, Heineken, Mikano, Amarula, Delta Airline, Nederburg, Cobranet Internet Service Provider, Cool FM, Wazobia TV, Chocolate Royal, Art Café and The Homestores Limited.

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