Saturday, December 14, 2013

Women Shaping History in Burkina Faso, featured at Boston's City Hall!

We're excited to announce the launch of an exhibit on women shaping history in Burkina Faso at City Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, as a part of a larger "All Things Change" show hosted by Unbound Visual Arts (UVA) and the Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events. The component of the exhibit titled "All Things Change: Evolving Roles of Burkinabé Women" follows the progression of roles taken on by women in this West African nation, and the impact that they have had on the development of the country. "Equality Burkina" team member Scholastique Kompaoré features prominently among the six Burkinabé women whose work and achievements are highlighted in the exhibit. The "All Things Change" exhibition, curated by UVA Executive Director John Quatrale, was showcased in an article in the Boston Globe, here

Above, an educational poster describing Burkina's Women of Vision

The exhibit will be on display from late November to December 31, 2013, at City Hall in the Scollay Square Gallery. On December 12, a reception was held for the public and the artists. Brenda Gael McSweeney and Rose O'Connell-Marion represented the Boston University/Equality Burkina team at the reception, enthusiastically sharing the story of female empowerment in Burkina Faso. 

The All Things Change Exhibit has now been invited to show at the Harvard Educational Portal for the first several months of 2014! 

Pioneer of female education in Burkina, Scholastique Kompaoré, at left
with 12th century Princess-Warrior Yennenga at right.

At left, Unbound Visual Arts Executive Director John Quatrale, with UVA Founding Member and Exhibiting Photographer Brenda Gael McSweeney - Léontine Kaboré, a 1st-ever female village chief, figures in Brenda's photo.

Boston's Mayor of 20 years, Tom Menino captured by UVA artist Fran Gardino, is just a pillar 
away from Burkina's village chief Léontine and activist-artist Suzi Ouédraogo.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Women's Empowerment in Burkina Features at Visual Arts Exhibition!

Four photographs depicting a glimpse of the journey of Burkina's women were selected by a jury for an exhibition marking the launch of a partnership between Unbound Visual Arts (UVA) and the Harvard Allston Education Portal. This flagship event celebrated the work of numerous artists from Brighton-Allston and neighboring communities. At the popular Grand Opening Reception, sculpture, paintings, and photographs were shared with the public.

Among these was the Burkina set of photos, that depict the phenomenal workloads of women of all ages in this West African nation. This series of photos also portrays the story of workload lightening technology managed by the women themselves. The end result was time freed up for the women, who could then opt for income-generating activities and encourage their daughters to go to school. The concluding photo captures the Interm Empress of the Mossi Kingdom. The photos were taken over a period of four decades by UVA Council of Advisors Founding Member Brenda Gael McSweeney, based on her work in Burkina Faso alongside Scholastique Kompaoré, National Coordinator of the UNESCO-led Equal Access of Women and Girls to Education Project.

Brenda with Artist/UVA Members Exhibit Co-Curator Ruth Rieffanaugh
alongside the Burkina photo-story (Photo: John Quatrale)
See the full set of photographs of the UVA-Harvard Allston Education Portal exhibition launch here!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Another View of Africa: A Photo Essay!

We are so pleased to announce that the recently released e-book Gender Perspectives in Case Studies Across Continents published by the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender features a photo essay from Burkina Faso! This chapter (at page 67), entitled “Another View of Africa: A Photo Essay on Female Education and Empowerment in Burkina Faso”, was produced by Brenda Gael McSweeney and Scholastique Kompaoré, with Cassandra Fox. 

“Another View of Africa” aims to present a hopeful image to contrast with typical media depictions of life in Africa. These images illustrate the progress in rural Burkina Faso, where the implementation of time-saving technology and greater access to education for females led to the empowerment and growing public participation of local women. These programs were the Equal Access of Women and Girls to Education Project and the Multi-Functional Platform initiatives, which recognized how heavy gendered workloads inhibited women’s opportunities. The photos in this essay reveal the changes in communities as these workloads were lifted. This essay is also available in French (“Un autre regard sur l’Afrique at page 72).

Another West Africa chapter of great interest (at page 112) is “God First, Second the Market: A Case Study” prepared by the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund. This case study demonstrates how Liberia’s market women have been pivotal in the rebuilding of the country’s social and economic foundations, and explores several market women’s individual stories. As with “Another View of Africa”, “God First, Second the Market” highlights as well the importance of women’s education and participation in the economy.  (Photo © SMWF)

Gender Perspectives in Case Studies Across Continents also features a foreword from the Director of the UNESCO Division for Gender Equality, Saniye Gülser Corat, who unveils UNESCO’s priority in promoting gender equality through 2021, and emphasizes the importance of these case studies in promoting understanding of different realities and challenges, and providing for the possibility to formulate reality based policies and procedures. We encourage you to explore the Burkina Faso and Liberia essays, as well as the other fascinating case studies the e-book offers. View the entire publication, co-edited by Gloria Bonder and Brenda Gael McSweeney, here.