Off the Beaten Path/AFRICA, an exhibition showcasing the artwork of local youth alongside 14 leading artists, presents interpretations of and responses to violence against women and girls from July 12 - August 31, 2011 at Le Galerie le Manège in Dakar, Senegal. Art Works for Change, the US-based nonprofit organization producing Off the Beaten Path/AFRICA, has partnered with Reseau Africain L’Education de la Santé (RAES) and other leading cultural and activist organizations from Senegal and beyond to organize a series of free public programs about violence against women in a unique collaborative effort to sensitize, inform and engage audiences in social change through art and community dialogue.
Off the Beaten Path/AFRICA is an adaptation of the currently touring exhibition, Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art, which brings together 35 artists from 27 countries to address the serious and prevalent global epidemic of violence against women. Since launching in 2009, the original exhibition has traveled to world-class museums in Oslo, San Diego, Tijuana, Mexico City, Chicago, and Atlanta, and will go to the South African National Gallery in 2012 and the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2013. Inspired by this powerful exhibition and the former President of Senegal Leopold Senghor’s vision to utilize art for social change, Off the Beaten Path/AFRICA was re-worked to include the artistic visions, voices and communities of Africa with photo essays by women and girls illustrating their personal and private experiences with violence.
“Around the world, women and girls are victims of countless and senseless acts of violence,” said Randy Jayne Rosenberg, exhibit curator and executive director of Art Works for Change. “In many of these instances, they are victims simply because they are female. So we pose this question to the African community: How do we get off the ‘Beaten Path?’ How do we create a world where all people are secure and where women’s rights are seen fully and finally as human rights?”
Art Works for Change partnered with Plan International, a child rights advocacy group, to train and engage youth and women to use cameras and the art of photography to share their experiences and raise awareness for the realities of violence.
“We encouraged them to capture their lives and to document and speak out about violence and violations which they encounter on a daily basis,” said Rabi Seck, programme coordinator for Plan Senegal. The youth and their mothers produced compelling photographs and narratives reflecting intergenerational perspectives and personal encounters with violence. These images will be on view at the exhibition.
Off the Beaten Path/AFRICA capitalizes on the ability of visual art to engage the audience at both intellectual and emotional levels. The works aim to address the multi-faceted nature of the program and present a myriad of responses to the issue on a subtle, more personal level, derived from unique individual experiences and cultural points of view throughout five categories: Violence and the Individual; Violence and the Family; Violence and the Community; Violence and Culture; and Violence and Politics. The exhibition opens on Tuesday 12 July at Le Galerie le Manège, 3 Rue Parchappe, Dakar, Senegal.
Participating artists include: Fatou Kandé Senghor (Senegal); Sea Diallo (Senegal), Félicité Codjo (Senegal), Babacar Niang (Senegal); Cheik Diouf (Senegal), Khadidjatou Sow (Senegal), Agency: Volontaire (Sweden); Marie Beaunay (Senegal); Naina Legall (Senegal); Achille Sars (Senegal); Yoko Inoue (Japan); Amal Kenawy (Egypt); Hung Liu (China); Gabriela Morawetz (Poland); Wangechi Mutu (Kenya); Maimuna Feroze Nana (Pakistan); and Yoko Ono (Japan/USA).
The launch of the exhibition will be accompanied by a special fundraising concert featuring well-known Senegalese hip-hop artist Daara J and others; a fictional drama piece performed at the concert by youth from Kaolack and coordinated by the Association for the Advancement of Senegalese Women (APROFES); and a panel discussion on the power of art as a tool for social change with the Senegalese artists, youth and women who took part in the photographic project. Community programs and activities that will take place throughout the duration of the exhibition include radio programs coordinated by Reseau Africain L’Education de la Santé (RAES), youth-led and on-line activities featuring artwork, poetry and songs developed by youth; and a two-day workshop on violence against girls in schools hosted by UNESCO BREDA and led and coordinated by Action Aid, alongside NGOs and civil society organizations. For a complete schedule, visit artworksforchange.org.
Off the Beaten Path/AFRICA is funded by Trust Africa and the Oak Foundation. Organizational and programming partners include: Reseau Africain L’Education de la Santé (RAES); the French Cultural Centre, Dakar; Plan Senegal; UNESCO BREDA; ActionAid; Federation of African Women Educationalists (FAWE); Control Committee Against Violence Against Women and Children (CLVF); the Association for the Advancement of Senegalese Women (APROFES), Population Media Center; Sakoura Foundation; One World; and the Ministry of Culture & Gender.
About Art Works for Change
Art Works for Change (ArtWorksforChange.org) produces traveling contemporary art exhibitions that address social and environmental issues. A nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California, Art Works for Change applies the transformative power of art to promote awareness, inspire action, provoke dialogue and address systemic change. The exhibitions serve as a crucible where artists, museums, advocacy and educational organizations, and the local community may join together.