Cate Mackenzie

Posts, podcasts and pictures

CEDAW – Treaties as Art

CEDAW - trashed? courtesy mejillahyde/flickr

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women – shortened to CEDAW – celebrates its 31st birthday in September 2012 (counting from when it entered into force). If you happen to be in New York City before March 2012, you have the opportunity to experience ‘international law as art’ at Croatian artist Sanja Ivekovic’s exhibition, “Sweet Violence”, at MoMA.

Where does CEDAW fit in? For the exhibition, Iveković has produced Report on CEDAW U.S.A., an installation based on a communiqué drawn from Amnesty International’s literature on CEDAW. As of May 2011 the United States is still among the minority of countries, including Iran and Sudan, that have not yet ratified CEDAW. Women’s rights are discarded on the floor ‘like trash’ until visitors pick them up and read them – and then perhaps discard them again. The MoMA website describes the installation as “Iveković pressur[ing] us to respond and take responsibility for society’s progress, or lack thereof, in eradicating persistent forms of gender violence.”

Situations of crisis often lead to an increase in sexual and gender-based violence, and unsurprisingly, it is women who bear the brunt. New York University’s Robert F Wagner Graduate School of Public Service have a podcast examining the phenomenon. Part of their ‘Conflict, Security and Development’ series, the speakers assess whether there is a connection between such violence and access to food and water in crisis situations – shifting perspectives from raising awareness (hopefully this has been achieved) to helping examine root causes so we can move toward prevention.

On a more lighthearted note, artist Jocelyn Grivaud has taken what some consider to be a symbol of impossible (Western) feminine beauty – Barbie – and created imitations of famous classic paintings; Barbie as “The Girl with the Pearl Earring”, or the “Venus de Milo”.


Originally published here by the Foreign Policy Association.

Small image via Ricardodiaz11/flickr.

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2012 by in Posts and tagged , .

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