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Half The Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art




Luxun Academy of Fine Arts

Shenyang, China



THESE WALLS CAN TALK addresses domestic violence. It alludes to domestic space by juxtaposing wallpaper with information on gender violence, video, and “don’t remain silent” stickers. The wallpaper design incorporates a number of common objects that are frequently used to inflict injury: fists, knives, belts, guns and irons. Conversely, the video presents famous world leaders including President Obama and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia reciting Jackson Katz’s 10 Things Men Can Do To Prevent Gender Violence.


The International Caucus of the Women’s Caucus for Art was invited by the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, China to create an art-based cultural exchange and exhibition between artists and essayists. The exhibit/exchange, the first of its kind in China, illuminates how socially engaged art can affect values, attitudes, and institutions and references Chairman Mao Zedong’s famous statement that “women hold up half the sky.

Louder than words, these walls can talk a wallpaper for the recreation of a domestic space. Wallpaper elements contains some object that is relevent to domestic violece situation. At the same time the wallpaper encourages men to prevent gender violence, on the right side there is a list of 10 things that men can do to prevent gender based violence. This list was also translated into Chinese.

Domestic Violence Statistics in China


An international survey on gender-based violence found that 50% of male respondents confessed they have physically or sexually abused women, including their wives or girlfriend.


10 million children are exposed to domestic violence annually worldwide. A boy that grows up in a household with domestic violence is 3-4 times more likely to become an abuser himself as an adult.


Around the world, at least 1 in every 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.


50% of men and 20% of women support the idea that men can use violence to defend their reputation. 73% of men and 55% of women agree that men should be tough. These widely accepted norms about masculinity are a major driving force in the prevalence of men’s violence against women.


Women worldwide, ages 15 through 44, are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than by cancer, car accidents, malaria and war. 40-70% of all female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner.


More than 50% of respondents report that men need sex more than women and about 20% of male respondents said they had forced their partners to have sex.


Global studies indicate that 1 in 5 women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.


Half of all women who die from homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or partners.


According to a survey on how rural females handle wife beating, 50% go to relatives or village leaders for mediation, 33% take revenge with violence, and only 7% go to law enforcement departments for assistance. Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55% and 95% of women physically abused by their partner never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.


603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.

10 Things Men Can Do To Prevent Gender Violence

©Jackson Katz


Approach gender violence as a MEN'S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers.


If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner -- or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general -- don't look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don't know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON'T REMAIN SILENT.


Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don't be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.


If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.


Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women's centers. Attend "Take Back the Night” rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.


If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.


Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (e.g. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).


Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.


Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't involve degrading or abusing girls and women (or men). Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men's programs. Lead by example.


Don't fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Speak out about cyber-sexism and misogynist attacks against women on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Protest sexism in new and old media.

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