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Alexis Galleries holds first all-female exhibition for violence against women

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By Osa Mbonu

Alexis Galleries will on Saturday, March 2, 2019, hold its first all-female art exhibition titled Femme, which means ‘female’, to mark the celebration of International Women’s Day which comes up a day earlier on March 8. The exhibition is also aimed at launching a campaign on violence against women.

•Some of the female artists for Femme art exhibition (standing) with Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, founder & Director of Alexis Galleries (sitting left); Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, founder, WARIF (sitting middle); and curator of the exhibition (sitting right), during the press conference announcing Femme last Tuesday at Alexis,Victoria Island, Lagos. PHOTO: Osa Mbonu-Amadi

The exhibition, Femme, will feature about 50 artworks by eleven carefully selected female artists from across Nigeria, Cameroon and Benin Republic. The exhibiting artists are Djakou Kassi Nathalie, Millicent Okocha, Clara Aden, Doofan Kwahgool, Addis Okoli, Olawunmi Banjo, Olayemi M. Afolabi, Nkechi Abii, Omo Udenta and Amarachi Odimba.

The general theme of the exhibition is “Violence Against Women” which mirrors the behavior to the woman of an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual or psychological abuse and domineering behaviors with rape being the commonest. Yet women are often blamed when these take place and some keep them to themselves due to shame or stigma.

Djakou Kassi Nathalie’s “Enough is Enough” and “Woman support Woman” for instance address in very creative ways violence against women. Other works by the female artists include Millicent Okocha’s Dream Paradox, Clara Aden’s Love me till death do us part, Doofan Kwahool’sA silent world and Our story,   Addis Okoli’s Shelter, Olawunmi Banjo’s Awakening and Nkechi Abii’sFemale Emotions: Tears on my pillow all have different degrees and shades of treatment of the same theme –     violence against women.

The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

For this exhibition, Alexis Galleries is collaborating with Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a not-for-profit organization founded by Dr. Kemi DaSilver-Ibru, to response to the high incidence of sexual assault, rape and human trafficking which occur amongst young girls and women across Nigeria.

WARIF is a centre for sexual assault referral centre, established in 2016 to provide a safe haven for survivors of rape and assault. They offer free medical care, counseling, shelter and legal aid to victims. Part of the proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to the foundation.

On the other hand, an affiliate platform, the WARIF Advocacy Through Arts (WTA) is a new initiative by Alexis which seeks to create awareness, change behavioral patterns, and discourage gender-based violence in tertiary institutions across Nigeria.

The Femme exhibition is supported by Pepsi, Heineken, Mikano, Amarula, Delta Airline, Nederburg, Cobranet Internet Services Provider, Cool FM, Wazobia TV, Chocolate Royal, Art Café and The Homestores Limited.

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