Considering the recent media coverage of high-profile cases of sexual violence and harassment against women in Hollywood, and outside the celebrity bubble where women around the world have been sharing their own experiences of sexism via the #metoo hashtag, it seems fitting that the annual exhibition
in support of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) is back in Beijing.
EVAW was launched by the UN in 1999 as a global initiative that encourages governments and NGOs to show their support for raising awareness about the global phenomenon of violence against women. The Beijing edition – run by the same people who brought you the China Women's Film Festival, in partnership with UN Women – is now in its third year, and takes the shape of an art exhibition that highlights the prevalence of the problem and ways to tackle it. This year, following the blockbuster success of Wonder Woman, the art is all comic-themed.
The works on show range from graphic novels to comics to illustrations, and come from female and male artists around the world. Despite the child-friendly format, the topics tackled are heavy. Priya's Shakti (Priya's Mirror) follows the story of rape survivor Priya, who joins forces with acid attack survivors to take on the demon king Ahankar. The film of the comic premiered at the 2016 New York Film festival, earning the male author Ram Devineni the plaudit of 'gender equality champion' by UN women.
Another heavy-hitting work featured is The Secret Life of Gitmo's Women by Sarah Mirk, in which the author interviewed two female US army vets who had served on Guantanamo Bay. The interviews have been written up into a short book, with dark illustrations by Lucy Bellwood.
Elsewhere in the exhibition, there are stories about the suffragettes, illustrations by Shamisa Debroey and more. The artworks are only on display until December 10, so head down as soon as you can to see some thought-provoking pieces from around the world.