"Exhibiting You" - Story

Art across Borders

By: Gabriela Pickett
Submitted: 10/07/2008

Our commonality is significant, whether it begins in the home at a family level or extended into the public sphere. The activism of indigenous women is manifested in their commitment to fighting for respect, freedom, and even survival as a group.

Women have the ability to organize collective action embracing differences in age, ethnicity, or religion to pursue a common goal. That is what makes us strong.

Women's Rights are Human Rights

Our right to self-determination has been denied through stereotyped gender roles. Globalization has allowed women to connect in ways previously unimaginable. We have come to discover that human suffering is indifferent to gender, age and nationality.

A group identity as both humans and women has provided an embryonic sense of empowerment that feeds our desire for a better life. The Zapatista women of Mexico have reshaped the role of Mexican women emanating power from below. They are transforming their identity and self-perception through their political participation.

Overcoming Borders Sometimes ethnicity can become subjective. Challenging anthropological definitions, people can determine their own identity. While this can provide women with a sense of camaraderie, it can also create artificial boundaries between themselves and others.

It is fair to say that indigenous women remain one of the most marginalized groups in society. Forced political and economic marginalization has become a battle-cry of "grass-root" movements that empowers women to make their voice heard in their communities and around the world.

Connecting Women Through ArtI want to use my artistic abilities to attest to the brutal living conditions of every day life in Mexico. When I paint or create sculptures I use a fusion of influences from my native country.

As an activist, I use my art as a venue for social commentary in the hope that indigenous people are not forgotten. In an era where Zapatistas have put down their guns and use words as a weapon against tyranny, I use my art to compliment the messages of peace and respect for human rights emanating from the jungles of Mexico.

I aim at raising awareness of the intolerable living conditions of the Mexican indigenous people who have been marginalized by economic roadblocks and social discrimination.

Art as a Universal Language

Art breaks the barrier of language. It directly appeals to human emotion. A picture can depict the scars and anxiety generated by domestic violence, hunger, social isolation, displacement, and the violence resulting from armed conflict.

It takes a person four seconds to look at a painting or sculpture and capture a sense of human suffering. Pain and human struggle can generate emotions that invite people to be more sensitive to the suffering of others.

My paintings are a vehicle for sparking people's curiosity about the human experience. That curiosity, in turn, may lead to an awareness that demands action.

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