GenderHopes exhibit promotes confident, strong girls

Vibeke Brask Thomsen, with charity book, created GenderHopes in 2011. Photo: Ed Wright Images
Vibeke Brask Thomsen, with charity book, created GenderHopes in 2011. Photo: Ed Wright Images

GenderHopes’ exhibition opening of “A Confident Girl” Tuesday night filled the first floor of the Columbus Hotel as more than 150 supporters came to admire 40 works of art, from paintings and sculptures to photographs.

Taking place on October 11, International Day of the Girl, this was the fourth successful fundraiser the Monaco-registered charity has put together to date. “It’s been a lot of work compared to the movie screenings we did in the past,” Vibeke Brask Thomsen, GenderHopes Founding Director, told Monaco Life, “but it’s worth it to see how artists symbolically captured the confident-girl theme.”

Some 25 renowned local (10 from Monaco) and international artists are showcasing unique pieces of art, available for purchase, with proceeds from all sales to go to the Akilah Institute for Women, a college in East Africa that enables young women to achieve economic independence and obtain leadership roles in the workplace and in society.

Monaco resident, Nick Danziger, has a spectacularly moving photo documentary of Mariatu, who grew up in Sierra Leone and had her arms brutally amputated at the age of 13 to prevent her from voting.

A coffee table book, featuring information about the Day of the Girl, the United Nations, the Akilah Institute and all the works on exhibit, is for sale (€40), and includes a preface by Robert Zoellick, former President of the World Bank.

Ms Isabelle Bonnal, Director of Education, Youth and Sports in Monaco, speaking at exhibition opening Tuesday. Photo: Ed Wright Images
Ms Isabelle Bonnal, Director of Education, Youth and Sports in Monaco, speaking at exhibition opening Tuesday. Photo: Ed Wright Images

At the cocktail reception Tuesday evening, Ms Isabelle Bonnal, Director of Education, Youth and Sports spoke about Monaco’s commitment to higher education, and an alumna from the Akilah Institute shared her story as a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide to becoming a student at Akilah.

“It’s all about small little steps,” Vebeke, a Dane who grew up in Monaco, said passionately. “And to say to young girls, and boys, that they can become anything they want.”

Founded by Vibeke in 2011, GenderHopes has shaped new initiatives to end domestic violence working with the relevant parties including government, police, hospital, victims and social services.

“A Confident Girl” runs until October 30 at the Columbus Hotel. (All photos copyright Ed Wright Images.) 

Article orignially published October 12, 2016.

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