Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art at Chicago Cultural Center

Thirty-two contemporary artists from 25 countries address violence against women and their basic human right to safe and secure lives around the world. Featuring work by renowned artists such as Marina Abramović, Laylah Ali, Yoko Ono, among others, the exhibition asked artists to create art that builds awareness, inspiration, and positive social change and action.

According to curator Randy Jayne Rosenbergand,

“When we encounter violence against women, we often experience a sort of blindness. We choose not to see the devastation of domestic violence, calling it ‘a family affair.’ Honor-killings of women in faraway regions of the world become nothing more than a ‘cultural difference.’ We find it hard to believe that sex trafficking and exploitation occur in our cities, close to home. The rape and torture of women during armed conflict is the inevitable ‘messiness of war.’ As such, the political and systemic sources of violence are underestimated or overlooked.

Premised on the visionary, poetic and prophetic potential in art, the stories that underlie these artworks by 32 artists from around the world return us imaginatively to the event of violation and allow it to affect us. Avoiding tabloid and sensational imagery, we ask the artists to help us create a new vocabulary—new representations—through their artworks and, in doing so, heal us, transform us, and help us feel and understand the essence of the problem of violence against women. And in the process we begin to forge a new journey – off the beaten path.”

Organized by Art Works for Change, the exhibition will also be seen in Norway, Mexico, France, and South Africa, among other stops on its worldwide tour.

The free program series for the exhibition considers the global issue of violence against women through a series of innovative local programs organized by the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women & Gender in the Arts & Media; Rape Victim Advocates; and The Voices and Faces Project.

Related Events:
• Friday, January 21, 5:30 – 7:30 pm: Opening Reception with a performance by exhibition artist Susan Plum
• Thursday, February 17, 7 pm: A Special Performance of Stories on Stage
• Tuesday, March 8, 6 pm: Art & Civic Engagement: An Artist Panel Discussion, with exhibition artists
• Saturday & Sunday, March 26 – 27: Testimonial Writing Workshop
• Friday, April 1, 7 pm: Enemies of Silence: A Night of Poetry & Performance
• Friday, April 8, 12 – 3 pm: The Southern Poverty Law Center’s return of “The Bandana Project”

Visit the Art Works for Change website and the Chicago Cultural Center website for more information.