( painting by Aleom Teklu)
As part of International woman’s day, several prominent Ethiopian artists came together to fill a 100-meter-long canvas with new paintings that promote the campaign to end early marriage practices in Ethiopia. 30 artists including Desta Hagos, Alem Teklu and Bekele Mekonen contributed to the painting that was part of events organized by UNFPA in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Population Council, and the patronage of Azeb Mesfin, wife of the Ethiopian prime minister the UNFPA representative noted that:
"Early Marriage is one of the prevalent forms of gender-based violence in Ethiopia with negative consequences on women's and girl's reproductive health, including maternal deaths, fistula, HIV/AIDS and other negative psycho-social problems,"
( painting by Desta Hagos)
Studies showed than 50% of young girls fifteen or younger are forced into marriage in the province of Amhara alone despite the legal marriage age being set at 18.
However, the representative pointed out in her speech that the Ethiopian Government has made the fight against gender inequality a top-priority and that great improvement have been achieved:
( End early marriage address)
“Ethiopia offers a favorable environment for those committed to fight Gender Inequality. National laws strongly condemn all forms of violence inflicted on young girls and women. But despite all these legal framework and laws, Ethiopia faces the challenge of deeply entrenched socio-cultural values and practices reluctant to release young girls and women. Harmful traditional practices continue to prevail, albeit some decline in national prevalence. Female Genital Mutilation and Early Marriage are two faces of these practices, with FGM/C more wide-spread in the country than Early Marriage.”.
Here are a few of the paintings showcased on the canvas:
( painting by Bekole mekonem)
A large poster with a petition to join the campaign to end early marriage practices was also on display at the event and it collected about a thousand signatures.
( pledge to support the campaign)
The following article involves someone in my family. Most of you who follow me already noticed it :) ( Gee, the photos are kind of a give-away aren'they ?). With that in mind, this post is about the Ethiopian artists, their commitment to a social cause that is important to them (hence the no-name-policy for this post). I feel that this is the kind of positive story that could benefit from more coverage in the news ( as discussed at the we media conference) than our usual "doomsday" articles or "pop-icons gone wild" newsflash.
In the same vein, the zaza-vavy gasy intiative that discusses the same issue is well-worth our time and attention.
More importantly, the paintings are amazing. Granted I am not an art expert by any stretch of the imagination but even for a novice, a 100-meter-long canvas of such paintings is darn impressive. So this post is really just to showcase the awesome comtemporary art achieved by these artists for that day.
End of disclosure :)