Marie Plakos is an artist friend. In 2016, her exhibition, Our Sister’s Keeper, opened at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.
Prior to her exhibition, Marie spent several years traveling to communities around the world photographing women in an effort to capture images "that depict the beauty, dignity, and strength I see in women and children who are living in some of the most underdeveloped regions in the world.” She visited Chiapas, Mexico, Gujarat, India, the Witch Camps of Ghana, West Africa, and Peru. Her photos are striking. I was taken by the gorgeous fabrics commonly worn in these settings, but also by the buoyancy on the faces in the pictures. I choose that word intentionally. The looks on the faces aren’t always happy, but they are resilient.
Marie offered me a catalogue created for the exhibition, and her photos made me want to know more. If we are our sister’s keeper how does that translate into action? I spent an afternoon researching organizations that support women and children around the world. The Global Fund for Women showed up at the top of every search.
Here are a few paragraphs from the website, setting their intention to actively care for women:
“Women’s rights are the fundamental human rights that were enshrined by the United Nations for every human being on the planet nearly 70 years ago. These rights include the right to live free from violence, slavery, and discrimination; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage.
As the now-famous saying goes, “women’s rights are human rights.” That is to say, women are entitled to all of these rights. Yet almost everywhere around the world, women and girls are still denied them, often simply because of their gender.
The Global Fund for Women exists to support the tireless and courageous efforts of women’s groups who work every day to win rights for women and girls. These groups are working to ensure women can own property, vote, run for office, get paid fair wages, and live free from violence – including domestic violence, sexual assault, and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation.”
The most delightful aspect of my research was discovering the President of the Global Fund for Women, Musimbi Kanyoro. In a powerful TEDtalk, she outlines her desire to bring the concept of ISIRIKA to the world through her work with the GFW. Isirika, a word from her native language, translates as Equal Generosity, Caring Together for One Another. I hope you will find a few minutes to watch her talk. I know you be inspired by her words.
There is no time like the present to support programs that support women. The Global Fund for Women is just one example of organizations that have set the education and safety of women around the world as a priority. As Musimbi Kanyoro says “If you want to solve the world’s biggest problems, invest in women and girls. They expand their investment and they care for everyone in the community.”
There are ways each of us can be supportive that fit within our varied belief systems. This is a cause around which we can all rally. So let’s do!
Marie Plakos graciously offered three catalogues from her exhibition so that I could share them with you. You can view Marie’s pictures on her website, www.MariePlakos.com.
We’ll give three catalogues away on October 1st and you can enter the drawing by leaving a comment on this blog post answering the question: