BY ROSIE GIBBS, REGIONAL COORDINATOR (UK)
As an artist with a keen interest in equal rights, and in particular the rights of women it has been an amazing experience working as the director of the One Billion Rising Art Festival in the UK. Perhaps because we don’t know what art is for it provides a way in, a sideways approach, to difficult conversations. This is one of them.
Bringing people together over a creative endeavour provides the germs for such conversations, with the One Billion Rising art festival they have only just begun. From tours at The National Gallery, to a symposium at The Royal College of Art, the art festival has sought to approach these difficult subjects from a variety of angles, with each event reminding us that the kind of systemic sexism that is at the root of gender based violence has to end. By showing us new ways to look, art can help us rethink our hegemonic ideologies. Offering the rare opportunity for contemplation, giving a space to ideas, objects, images, removed from their usual contexts, art can help us notice things that we may have seen but have not noticed.The art festival has opened up situations where people can discuss their own concerns and see that they are not alone.
Our One Billion Rising Art Festival brought together many people from many different backgrounds, produced a rich and varied program that will continue beyond VDAY, and provided fertile ground for collaboration for the future. Please have a look at all we have been doing at www.obrartfest.co.uk
The events you see are just the icing on the cake, the festival has been in the making of it, the meeting of people to create these events, the rehearsals, the discussions, the process of bringing people together to produce these exhibitions, talks and shows. The One Billion Rising art festival didn’t end on VDAY, it lives on, not only as a series of events that will run through March, but also in the collective memory, a powerful reminder of what we can do when we work together.