Tonight the Mission Cultural Center opens its doors to the 30th SOLO MUJERES exhibition. This year's theme is "War, Woes, and Transformations". I have three pieces in the show exploring the many experiences that women face in the Syrian Civil War.
My artwork shows the remarkable resilience and fortitude of women. Confronted by the ravages of war, women are taking new roles and responsibilities. I felt the need to correct the assumption of many humanitarian actors who depict women as weak and vulnerable. My pieces emphasize the diversity of women’s experiences in war, including as community leaders, armed combatants and survivors of sexual violence.
The Syrian Civil War has drawn many women to the frontline. They are united by a new vision of women’s liberation. They are fighting against the Islamic State who enslaved, raped and killed so many of their own people. The war set these women free from their prison at home, where they were supposed to raise children and maintain the household. They are abandoning their former lives and embracing one of the world’s most feared guerrilla movements.
Violence against women in conflict situations appears in many forms. This piece is telling the story of a refugee making the journey to the European Union to seek asylum. She is traveling across the Mediterranean Sea on a boat. Lots of women experience sexual violence and rape on the way and in refugee camps. This has often been downplayed as an unfortunate but inevitable side of the Refugee Crisis but can’t be ignored as a human right abuse.