Charity Launch – Lotus (ENGLISH)

LOTUS charity

Group exhibition in the Vienna Women’s Center EGA

Creativity against cruelty

Creating a better world with art: in order to draw attention to the brutal and sadly still prevalent ritual of female genital mutilation, we gathered artists and their works from all over the world at the exhibition premiere “LOTUS” of the Viennese EGA in September 2018. With the intention to offer an intercultural exchange platform for critical discourse in an impressive and expressive manner, we drew attention to dreadful topics via a slightly different approach such as live painting, dance performances and the art of sound and music to take a creative stand. Half of the proceeds from “LOTUS” went to various institution for the education and prevention of female genital mutilation.

Why Lotus? A meaningful flower and a symbol of love

The lotus flower plays a major role in global history. Its symbolism manifested itself in countless cultures and religions. From its meaning in ancient Egypt or in Buddhism to its rediscovery in modern yoga circles, the interpretation of the lotus flower ranges from rebirth and eternity, cosmic harmony, purity, love and beauty to the metaphoric symbolization of the female vagina, the key point of our charity event. We united the colorful and abstract world of art and the likewise colorful but also cruel reality in which we all find ourselves, in order to create a new angle of perspective and to enable new points of view that can induce change.

The lotus flower as a sign of love.

What is beauty? What is perfection?

The lotus flower is one of the most profound symbols in the world and has always been a symbol of perfection, love and enlightenment in various cultures.

We have chosen this symbol because all of these reasons.

Our aim is to express a critical way of view to get/address another perspective because of the symbol we find that even imperfaction is perfection in nature.

  • the lotus blossom represents the delicate sexual organ
  • symbol of rebirth and preciousness
  • symbol of purity and unaffectedness
  • represents love, new beginning in life or true inner beauty
  • symbol of (divine) birth and perfection
  • symbol of the Creation and the universe

Because a picture says more than words

The performing artists arrived from all about the globe, e.g. from Spain, Burkina Faso, Chile, Austria and Sudan. Their message above anything: the language of art knows no language barrier! With the help of their artistic representations, artists from any given country and with any given background can reach, enlighten and sensitize audiences from all over the world with their given background, heritage and language. We used this outstanding tool of art to point to global disasters such as the atrocious practice of female genital mutilation. According to the World Health Organization, 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM. In Austria, the number of women affected is estimated at 8,000, around 1,900 of whom live in Vienna.

The visitors of LOTUS were offered a wide range of applied and contemporary art with music, dance and performance.

The support of the spokeswoman of the platform stopFGM, Member of the National Council Petra Bayr, MA, MLS, as well as the chairperson of the Municipal Committee for Culture and Science, Mag. Sybille Straubinger, MBA, and the organizers of the women’s popular initiative was essential for the success of our first charity event.

“Who says, walls have to be grey?”
Quote from Gerda Mackerle (Heute.at)

Curated by: artcanhelp.com in cooperation with ionart.at

Fig. 1: “hidden flowers” by Anis (Chile) (© iOnArt / Photo: Christian Winkler)

Artcanhelp.com and iOnArt want to use the group exhibition LOTUS as an opportunity for further social criticism through art initiatives. The purpose of the association ARTCANHELP is to provide a site for art, culture and communication to support and promote social engagement.

Moderated by journalist and publicist Livia Klingl, Mmag. Corinna Geißler (UNICEF Austria) and Umyma El Jelede, Bakk.a, Fem Süd, led a discussion with the audience following the exhibition.

Fig. 2: Panel discussion Corinna Geissler (UNICEF Austria, Umyma El Jelede, Bakk.a, Fem Süd, moderation: Livia Klingl, journalist)

Fig. 3: Film: Jaha`s Promise
(Photo: EGA )

Femmes globales: Female Genital Mutilation – Breaking the silence. Mag. Nicole Berger-Krotsch, SPÖ Viennese Women’s Secretary, introduced the opening of the Finnisage.

Femmes globales rounded off the Finnisage with the movie “Jaha’s Promise”. The film tells the story of a young woman who, as a baby, becomes a victim of female genital mutilation. At 15, she comes to New York to marry a middle-aged man whom she doesn’t even know yet. She escapes forced marriage and eventually returns to Gambia a decade later. The movie demands change and promotes women’s rights.

APA press release:

https://www.ots.at/presseaussendung/

Heute.at: https://www.heute.at/Wer-sagt–dass-Mauern-grau-sein-muessen–46397897

Many thanks to all our partners:

Wiener Wohnen

Fritz – kola

ega: frauen im zentrum
STOPFGM.net
ARTE Creative
FEM Süd
Improper Walls
Wedia.at
Kollektiv Zyklus
Somalischer Kultur Verein
Uniscreens
Chupitos Bar Vienna

A big thank you to all our supporters:
Bezirksvorstehung in Mariahilf
SPÖ Wien