Based on our solid belief in the importance of art in promoting feminism and women’s issues, Fe-Male and for the occasion of International Women’s Day 2022, collaborated with Hunna Art Exhibition in ABC Verdun. Hunna is a sensorial voyage, an invitation to enter the world of women and celebrate women artists. This project offers a big array of encounters through paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, videos, and a parallel awareness raising program on different topics related to women’s rights.
The Exhibition opened on March 8 at 6:30 pm with more than 250 people from different backgrounds joining the event and hosting over a period of 3 months several events related to women’s rights. We consider it important to highlight the importance of women in the history of art creation, but also to celebrate women when creating art.
When learning about history, we are very rarely taught about women as figures of power, they are mostly portrayed as subjects. The big artist names have always been men’s names. This is not due to women’s inability to produce high-quality art; it is because patriarchal discourse has shaped the way we study history and therefore what we perceive as possible. From the very beginning of art creation, we have been taught about men drawing animals on cave walls. However, late scientific evidence has conducted an analysis of the size of the handprints and has proved that three-quarters of the pieces we admire were actually left by women. This is something that can make us reflect on how gender bias affects our understanding of history.
Women have historically had the role of caregiver, and because of this, it was very difficult for them to devote their time to creating art. On top of this, the fight for women to have access to an equal education has been a long and arduous one, and access to art schools has been denied time after time. Because of these reasons, for a long time, the only artist women we know have been wealthy women that had time for leisure and access to training. However, there is also a phenomenon that we will never fully know the details of, the fact that many women artists just changed their artist names to a man’s one in order to avoid harsh judgment or repercussions from society at the time. There have also been throughout history many brave women who have fought against gender roles and owned up proudly to their art despite being wrongly judged, and it is crucial for us to now remember them and give them the importance they deserve.
In light of the current situation in Lebanon, from the revolution, the Beirut blast, and the severe crisis the country is submerged in, art can serve as a powerful tool for women to express themselves and make their voices heard. It has been proved that being creative through an artistic medium like painting or music, for instance, can be an effective way to channel a painful experience from your life into something meaningful that will aid turn that pain around. It is viewed as a tool that unlocks ways of expression because it allows for non-verbal communication that can make people safer and more likely to share their hurtful experiences. Thus, not only is it an alternative that can aid women to express some deep feelings, but it is also very helpful to highlight and promote women’s causes, issues, and needs.