On Exhibit: Amplifying Women's Voices

February 09, 2018
black and white photo of two native american women

"Norma" told photographer Daniel Jack Lyons, "In the street there has been a lot of crime that has happened to us. Once my daughter and I went out and three boys attacked us, so one feels panic, fear because you think you are safe but you don't know what may happen to you in the street."

Stark, black-and-white photographs by Daniel Jack Lyons (MPH’12) are on view in Low Library’s rotunda in an exhibition entitled Speaking to Peace: Portraits from Maputo and New York City that captures the perspectives of a diverse group of grassroots women activists.

In their own words, these women peacebuilders describe their encounters with personal and societal violence and the practical steps they have taken toward confronting such insecurity.

“We are part of this community, we want to hear and speak so we can learn and teach our elders and community leaders, so they know that we have a voice, we have value,” said Filomena, a woman from Maputo, Mozambique, in text accompanying her picture, which notes that when a meeting is held in her neighborhood, community leaders don’t invite young women such as herself.

Maitec, another Mozambican woman, said, “There are places that need more security, like the park. Things happen when you are with children. Once I was with my children at the park and a group of kids arrived shooting … the only thing to do was grab my kids and get down.”

The women featured are from Horizonte Azul, a gender and youth organization in Maputo, and the Association to Benefit Children, based in East Harlem.

Speaking to Peace marks the launch of Women, Peace and Security, a program at the Earth Institute’s Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity. The program’s mission is to examine and promote the crucial roles that women play in successfully influencing sustainable peace and security through everyday activism.

“This exhibition shows how peace and security issues are borderless; there are no boundaries in these matters,” said Leymah Gbowee, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and executive director of the new program.

Speaking to Peace is on view through March 8.

—By Eve Glasberg