Ex­hi­bi­tion ex­am­ines the wrong paths taken

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS - By Jen Zoratti

EV­ERY day, all over the world, mil­lions of women and girls of all ages and back­grounds are the vic­tims of gen­der-based vi­o­lence — be it phys­i­cal, sex­ual, psy­cho­log­i­cal, emo­tional or eco­nom­i­cal. And ev­ery day, all over the world, mil­lions of women and girls suf­fer in si­lence. Off the Beaten Path: Vi­o­lence, Women and Art, which opens Feb. 1 and runs un­til April 20 at the Win­nipeg Art Gallery, is a con­tem­po­rary art ex­hibit that ex­am­ines this per­va­sive so­cial prob­lem and seeks to cre­ate an open di­a­logue about it. Fea­tur­ing the mul­ti­me­dia work of 30 well-known fe­male artists — in­clud­ing Yoko Ono, Ma­rina Abramovic, Mona Ha­toum and Wangechi Mutu, among oth­ers — from 25 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, the ex­hibit deals with ev­ery­thing from traf­fick­ing to rape as a weapon of war. A wide range of per­spec­tives and ex­pe­ri­ences are rep­re­sented, which is why art­works are grouped by sev­eral themes — vi­o­lence and the in­di­vid­ual, vi­o­lence and fam­ily, vi­o­lence and the com­mu­nity, vi­o­lence and pol­i­tics, and vi­o­lence and cul­ture. The trav­el­ling show has been pre­sented all over the world since it de­buted in Nor­way in 2009. It is cu­rated by Randy Jayne Rosen­berg, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, chief cu­ra­tor and founder of Art Works for Change, an Amer­i­can or­ga­ni­za­tion whose mis­sion is to “har­ness the trans­for­ma­tive power of art to pro­mote aware­ness, pro­voke di­a­logue and in­spire ac­tion.” When a pro­posal to bring Off the Beaten Path to Win­nipeg crossed the desk of He­len Delacre­atz, chief cu­ra­tor at the WAG, she was in­trigued. “We get a lot of pro­pos­als but this one caught my eye. I was im­pressed by the slate of artists in­volved, but it’s also an ex­hibit that has a lot of con­nec­tions to this city. There’s al­ways so much in the press about miss­ing and mur­dered abo­rig­i­nal women,” she says. In­deed, abo­rig­i­nal women face dis­pro­por­tion­ately higher rates of gen­dered vi­o­lence in Canada than nona­bo­rig­i­nal women. Last week, a new pub­lic data­base compiled by Ot­tawa re­searcher Maryanne Pearce placed the num­ber of miss­ing and mur­dered abo­rig­i­nal women in Canada at 824. Man­i­toba ac­counts for 111 of that to­tal.

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