War on Women: News reports on violence, abuse leads to art project


By Isanella Patoir

“Corentyne labourer gets life for raping three-year-old.”

“13-year-old raped, impregnated by stepfather.”

The headlines have become all too common.

For photographer Stephanie Persaud, something needed to be done to create visual impact of how pervasive offences against women and children have become.

She decided on an art project.

For over a year, she collected local newspaper clippings on these subjects and came up with the theme “War on Women.”

She attached the clippings to bottles and cups used to feed babies, on kitchen utensils and other household items.

The pieces are on display at the National Art Gallery, Castellani House until next Monday.

“With this particular project I hope to emphasize how far reaching these issues are, that it isn’t a ‘woman’s issue’ but a societal problem plaguing not just Guyana, but the world”, she recently told the News Room.

Stephanie, who is also a photographer, is using her art to bring awareness to these sensitive social issues.

“As disheartening as it is to see the newspapers every day and read about these horrific and unjust murders that take place within our borders, I felt compelled to collect and create something to highlight crucial issues within our country and communities”, she said.

She credits her inspiration to her surroundings, culture and constant travelling.

“The quality of life and justice for our women, all women, has always been a passion of mine”.

Persaud said that in many cases these issues are brushed off and accepted as “our culture.”

“These issues have been woven into the fabric of our society with many being more tolerant than they should concerning the safety and protection of our women and children.”

She urged that persons talk with their families about these issues and hopefully simultaneous encourage conversation among those who have become jaded by these issues.

“Many times the issues of teenage pregnancy stem from being abused and molested or raped as a child.

“The aggression witnessed at a young age could in turn (cause) girls to expect or condone (similar) behavior from their future relationships.”

For boys, such behavior could lead them to believe that their role in a relationship should be a dominating one, she said, which could lead to other aggressive acts such as robbery, rape and senseless killings.

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