Art exhibits men’s support of gender equality

Last night, Project FeMANism launched an inspiring public art exhibition of works that display men’s support of equality for all sexes. The all-male contributing artists explore what gender parity means to them as the project asks what role do men play in its advocacy?

In a trendy new restaurant/bar in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, a selection of art works has been gathered to illicit a new perspective on a familiar topic: the fight for equal rights from a man’s point of view. The artists contributing their work to this exhibition, chosen specifically for their male perspective, were asked what gender equality really means to men.

Addressing the packed crowd at last night’s opening, acting CEO of No To Violence Rodney Vlais said, “One of the great things about art is its ability to make things that are invisible more visible.” The art of the Works in Progress exhibition is making visible the importance of men’s engagement in the movement towards gender equality.

The exhibition organisers, Project FeMANism, stress that while the fight for equality is often considered a woman’s issue, it is in fact a human rights issue and therefore everyone should be involved in creating the necessary change.

“People are finally saying, ‘Where are men in this conversation?’ and ‘Men really need to be taking a stand in this journey,’” said Project FeMANism’s Elissa Hill.

Hill said this had been greatly helped by Emma Watson’s recent speech to the UN, for the launch of the He For She campaign, in which she extended a warm invitation to men to become ‘feminists’ too. In her address, Watson said, “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?”

The Works in Progress collection is a mix of mediums from painting and drawing, to printing and projection. Displayed along the walls of the spacious restaurant, audiences can leisurely navigate the works and read the artists thoughts that accompany them. The artists include Albie Colvin, Callum Jackson, Losop, Chad Swanson and Nathan Hill, with Tony Sowersby donating his portrait of Julia Gillard and satirical book The Political Landscape for the fundraising raffle grand prize on opening night.

The work will be on display for two weeks at the Northern Git restaurant and bar in Thornbury. Some pieces are available for sale, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Family Violence Response Centre.

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