Thursday, October 8, 2015

Women's Empowerment in Burkina Exhibit now in the University Archive and Special Collections at the University of Massachusetts, Boston

Brenda Gael McSweeney provides the background to photographs provided to the University Archive and Special Collections of UMass Boston:

"This photograph below, by my Brighton neighbor Eric West, is now in the UMass Boston Archive and Special Collection. It depicts how our Women of Vision initiative of the Brighton/Allston Historical Society spread to West Africa! My United Nations colleagues there saw our Women's Heritage Trial booklet on Brighton-Allston, and decided we should work on one for Burkina Faso. Unbound Visual Arts, of which I am a Founding Council of Advisors Member, spotted the photo essay co-authored by me and Burkinabe Scholastique Kompaoré with Casey Fox of BU on lightening West African's onerous workloads, and freeing up time and energy for educational and lucrative activities. Then UVA proposed a solo show in Greater Boston!

On March 8th, International Women's Day, the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library in Oak Square, Brighton hosted the show, co-sponsored by the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture and Development that I manage at Boston University Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program, and by Unbound Visual Arts. Brandeis University's Women's Studies Research Center, especially its Student-Scholar Partnership Program, also helped support our research.

At left, we see my photograph of a village woman demonstrating her numeracy skills in the 1970s, alongside a women's group leader, then women celebrating a day's lucrative work after a multi-functional machine they manage was introduced this past decade to lighten their food processing tasks. The United Nations Development Programme and UNESCO funded this work with the Government. At right is Lavanya Madabusi who now lives in Brighton and worked with us at BU. The Art Gallery space of our Oak Square Faneuil Branch Library is a learning hub dynamically managed by Librarian Dorothy Keller in this unique Art Deco building. Pictured, from left to right: Brenda Gael McSweeney and Lavanya Madabusi."

Exhibition Catalog here (Authors: Brenda Gael McSweeney and Scholastique Komparoré with Cassandra Fox; photographs by/©Brenda Gael McSweeney; Catalog Design by Ronni Komarow) .