Grassroots Organizations Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence through Cultural Activism


Reference: Irma Bajar, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment,

Grassroots Organizations Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence through Cultural Activism

January 28, 2011

New York, NY – One hundred people braved Tuesday night’s sudden east coast chill to join Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), and Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, and support violence against women awareness.  The opening reception for Unpacking Violence, an exhibit at bOb Bar and Gallery in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, featured a total of twenty contributing artists who showcased their work and took a stand for women’s lives.

The crowd, a mix of local artists, students, friends, and community leaders, danced nonstop thanks to DJs Soozee and Unkle Chip.  There was no indicator that the Unpacking Violence exhibit was postponed earlier this year due censorship issues.  “This exhibit taking place is an amazing feat.  We wanted to run this exhibit in the fall, but our initial sponsor censored our first attempt.  After consulting with our community and the participating artists, we decided to no longer work with that sponsor, because this collection was meant to be presented in its entirety.  Our objective as a women’s rights organization is to educate our community about the different forms of violence experienced by women.  How could we allow these women to be silenced again?” said Arlene Rodrigo, Cultural Director of FiRE and coordinator for the Unpacking Violence exhibit.

Some of the work featured at Unpacking Violence was created during FiRE’s Movement to Uncover Self Expression (MUSE) program (made possible by the generosity of the Citizens Committee for New York City). The MUSE program is a branch of GABRIELA USA’s national iVOW to End VAW campaign which expands the definition and discourse surrounding violence against women (VAW).  By creating spaces to foster awareness on the issue of violence against women, iVOW to End VAW hopes to combat its occurrence and break the culture of silence around VAW.

“It’s amazing to see the support toward ending violence against women, “ said Candice Sering, main curator and contributing artist for Unpacking Violence. “To be able to transform the trauma and pain experienced into these works of art, removes the issue from the private lives of survivors, and makes it conversant with the public – our community.”



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