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Call for Participation in a Nationwide Challenge ‘Art for Freedom’

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#DNAFightsRape–Save the Evidence awareness campaign announced the launch of a nationwide creative challenge called Art for Freedom’, encouraged by active participation of youth & civil society. The way our society deals with survivors of rape & sexual violence needs to change and that is what this initiative seeks, shifting the accountability from the survivor to the perpetrator.
UN Women India and Girl Up (UN Foundation), the leading United Nations entity for gender equality & women empowerment is supporting this drive along with reputed academic institutions like Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune (SIMB) and National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi (NIFT). The drive aims to stir the power of creativity and the influence of art on society to bring a positive change.

The initiative ‘‘Art for Freedom’ is calling all the citizens- especially creative professionals, students, designers and artists, to step forward and channelize their despair, frustration, anger and the range of emotions they experience whenever they hear about a brutal rape. The goal is to create a society where women, children, and diverse genders are free from constant fear by harnessing the power of art to compel a rethink of the status quo. We can only build public confidence in the ability of the criminal justice system when regressive mindsets change, and the focus turns from the rape survivor to the sexual offender, to bring the guilty to justice with modern forensic science & technologies like DNA.

Nishtha Satyam, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women India said, “It is imperative to change socio-cultural and behavioural norms that perpetuate gender inequality and the normalization of violence against women. Art plays a crucial role in shaping culture and perceptions. We call upon you to join the ‘Art for Freedom’ campaign and strengthen the collective voice to end violence against women, girls, and diverse genders through the medium of Art”. 

Neeti Banga, Associate Professor, NIFT Delhi added, “The power of critical thinking and creative expression is still untapped. The world needs kind hearts with inclusive mindsets. Be the voice! Express concerns for strong social issues through art, drama, music, dance, and touch the heart of humanity. This metamorphosis will help catalyze the emergence of new empathetic expressions and solutions, which today’s Youth can drive. We are delighted to be associated with this cause and look forward to extending our support to bring the message home”. 

Participants are free to choose their preferred form and medium of expression as this challenge entails the creation and submission of original works of art. The mediums can include graffiti, paintings, music recordings, sketches, poems, sculptures and garments as long as entries can be captured and shared digitally.

Under artist and non-artist categories, the entries will be screened and shortlisted. The best works will be displayed in a Virtual Art Showcase and nominations will be announced on April 15th, World Art Day. Comprising distinguished individuals from the fields of academia, fields of art, law & social justice, design and public policy.

The five parameters on which the jury will evaluate all the entries- the power to move people to action; relevance to the brief; emotional quotient, originality of idea and creativity & innovation. Winners will receive commemorative trophies & certificates. Student nominees of the non-artist category get to intern with Ogilvy India, provided they are pursuing their college degrees.

Lauding the initiative, Tim Schellberg, Founder & President, Gordon Thomas Honeywell—GA said, “Youth and artists have always been at the forefront of social movements world over. It is their creative expression and energy that provides powerful stimuli for change. India, like many other countries, has been trying to deal with a rape crisis and attempts are being made by the authorities to expand the use of advanced forensic technologies like DNA to bring down sexual crime and create a strong deterrent. While a lot more needs to be done on that front, it can only be effective if the culture changes from blaming the victim to going after the perpetrator with the help of DNA evidence he leaves at the crime scene.” 

Arneeta Vasudeva, Head, Public Relations & Influence, Ogilvy India added, “With a firm belief that art changes people and people change the world, we’re happy to launch the ‘Art for Freedom’ challenge with our partners to bring about a social transformation in the way we look at rape survivors. The tendency is to always find faults with the woman who’s been raped, where she erred, and what she could’ve done to avoid her fate. It’s time we put the spotlight on the offender instead and preserve DNA evidence to bring the guilty to justice.” 

On November 25th, 2019, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the #DNAFightsRape–Save the Evidence citizen awareness was launched in partnership with the Delhi Police, AIIMS, UN Women India, and Red FM. ‘Art for Freedom’ is a part of that. Saving crucial DNA evidence in sexual offence & rape cases to strengthen India’s criminal justice system; this was launched to educate people about the same. To spread the message of “Don’t Wash, Don’t Clean. Save the Evidence”, it has today become a movement with several members of the civil society stepping forward. Entries open till 24th March 2021.
To register please click on the following link: https://forms.gle/ES4zdyxE661KhtXQA

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