Art project explores issue of violence against women
A community art project marking the 20th anniversary of Queen’s Human Rights Office is a celebration of women’s strength in the wake of gender-based harassment and violence.
“Everyday women overcome barriers and violence, but their courage is rarely portrayed in popular culture,” says Irène Bujara, director of the Human Rights and Equity offices. “This project is meant to show positive images of women’s survival.”
The mosaic project divides an original painting by award-winning Aboriginal artist Leo Yerxa into 63 fragments. Mr. Yerxa has collaborated on many of the office’s projects since it opened its doors in 1992. Participants select a fragment and use it as their under painting to create a new artwork based on the theme of women’s strength, resilience and creativity in overcoming harassment and violence. When the 63 individual artworks are pieced together, Mr. Yerxa’s original design will be visible.
The project has attracted faculty, staff, students, alumni and community artists from as far away as Nepal.
“This broad community project, the first for the Human Rights and Equity offices in our 20-year history, is an honest statement in support of our vision of an inclusive, positive Queen’s environment that reflects our diversity,” says Stephanie Simpson, Associate Director, HRO.
Organizers have introduced a second mosaic in response to the overwhelming demand from participants. Once both mosaics are complete, a panel of judges will select 12 artworks to appear in the 2013 Queen’s Multifaith Calendar through the generous support of the B.C. Multifaith Society.
The project has received a grant from the Women’s Campus Safety Fund administered by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Student Affairs has also supported the project through the Eilidh Balkwill Fund. That funding will allow organizers to host a workshop this fall in residence where students can meet Mr. Yerxa, create their own square, and learn more about anti-violence initiatives in the community.