This month, Leadarise takes you to Afghanistan to meet Young Woman to Watch Setara Hassan. Setara was born in Afghanistan but fled the civil war with her family in the ’90s when she was still a child. The family first moved to Pakistan before settling in Denmark. Setara grew up influenced by both Eastern and […]
These women didn’t let an abuser take their destiny from them. Let them inspire you to unleash your inner-power and never give up on your future!
by Vanessa Daniela
Mattel launched the first Barbie with hijab in honor of the fence athlete, Ibtihaj Muhammad, who participated in the Olympics 2016 as the first American using a veil.
I’ve always been passionate about art since an early age. I would spend hours drawing, creating characters and Arts was one of my favorite classes at school. I thought it was amazing to study art history and devoted much to schoolwork. I also recall buying magazines, clipping all the illustrations I could find and keeping them on a folder. All of this has always been very spontaneous, and I’ve never thought about working with art until I finished the college feeling depressed about my professional life. I guess that was when I found out how passionate I was and I found my way as an illustrator.
When I started illustrating professionally, I began to miss a purpose behind my work. I wanted to spread a message and involve myself in a cause but did not know precisely what-until the end of a long relationship that shook me deeply. After that, I began to feel a necessity of empowerment and to redeem my self-esteem, which resulted in the illustrations of self-love. What was a therapy to help me ended up becoming the cause I was looking for and all the focus of what I do today, with a lot of love.
I am a fan of many illustrators, but currently, the ones who are inspiring me the most are Bruna Morgan, Frances Cannon, Tyler Feder, Carol Rossetti and Ambivalently Yours.
I am inspired when I see extremely well-known pop artists using their voices to empower other women and talk about issues like mental health-when everyone expects them to be superficial and only sexual symbols. I greatly admire Demi Lovato for being as transparent as her trajectory (use of drugs, bipolarity, self-mutilation, food disorders, bullying) and help so many people. I’m also a fan of Rihanna, Lady Gaga and (Brazilian singer) Anitta.
Just a few, but yes. I have already received testimonials from men who thanked me for addressing some subject, others asking me to talk about specific masculine issues and the most common: offenses and criticism saying that I encourage women to be “ugly and fat .” There are still few men with a receptive feminist mindset, I think mainly because there is the idea that feminists hate all men and that’s not true. My fight is for equality and freedom for both sexes. Why is waxing something imposed on women when it should be a choice, just as it is for men? And why is it acceptable for a woman to be sentimental, but if you question the masculinity of man if he is emotional? It’s something that needs to be deconstructed.
I’d tell them to remember that there are no rules when it comes to beauty. There is no pattern that we are accustomed to craving. Beauty is a state of mind, of profound love for what we are and the fact that we are unique in this world. It’s a process that begins when we can find a little piece of our body that we love and focus on it every day until we find many others. Don’t compare yourselves to others don’t mistreat yourselves. Start looking for love and people will do the same.
At the moment, I’m working on the “#realprincesses” project in which I illustrate Disney princesses with human features like acne, stains, and a plus size body. I also intend to write a book for some time, but I still have not been able to dedicate myself to the project as I would like. It’s still going to happen:)
Don’t be afraid to focus on yourselves, to find yourselves, to try new things. Believe more in yourselves by all means. You are worthy and worthy of love, never doubt that.
We are proud to announce Gricey RT’s new collection. She highights in her geometric art women in arts, inventions, mission and business. You can acquire any of this art pieces on her website www.griceyrt.com.
Frida Kahlo: Mexican self-portrait artist and feminist.
Yoko Ono: Japanese multimedia artist, singer, songwriter, and peace activist.
Princess Diana: Member of the British Royal family.
Marilyn Monroe: American actress and model.
Marina Abramovic: Yugoslav performance artist.
Mother Teresa: Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic-run and missionary.
Amelia Earhart: American aviation pioneer and author.
Iris Apfel: American businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon.
Caja Wessberg: Swedish professionally represented model and award-winning illustrator.
Sensitiveblackperson: founder of Art Hoe Collective.
Talia Bro: Danish art hoe from Instagram.
AURORA Aksnes: Norwegian singer-songwriter and producer.
La Marisoul: (Marisol Hernández) Mexican-American singer from the “Santa Cecilia” band.
Gricey Rangel Trejo
This week we are going to talk about Christy Birmingham. She is a writer, poet and feminist. Her writing is inspiring and motivates every woman who is going thru difficult moments. I personally love her work, Christy explains how art/poetry helped her to deal with personal issues, depression, and abuse. She is the perfect example what we have been trying to translate on our project.
Read her complete interview below.
When did you discover your passion for writing?
As an elementary school student, I realized my love of poetry and short stories. It was after becoming a voracious reader. I recall my English teacher asking us to pen a story based on a prompt and my story getting a good mark from the teacher. I was very proud!
Is poetry your favorite writing style?
Yes. Poems mean a lot to me as this was my first writing style published (back in elementary school – the poem was on the topic of recycling). I like the succinct nature of poetry. The format suits how my thoughts often emerge and I find that my expressions go well with a poetic format.
Do you think poetry is a type of therapy?
It absolutely can be! Art therapy has proven benefits and writing is a form of it. Poems, in particular, helped me to deal with personal issues, including depression and abuse. It was through my first poetry book Pathways to Illumination that I truly came back to being “me.”
Tell me about your writing motivation.
I am primarily motivated to write to help women struggling with their mental health or with unhealthy relationships. I speak from experience and want to help others. I believe that my purpose is to provide a hand to those who need help in these areas. By growing my blogging and book platforms, I can hopefully reach more women.
Who is your favorite author?
Margaret Atwood! I was drawn to her when I realized how distinct a writing style she has. I marveled in her book Surfacing at how she crafted a female character that was both unique and familiar at the same time. She has a beautiful way of phrasing sentences.
Tell me about your favorite poem.
I cannot choose a favorite poem. There are so many great choices. Some of the poets I admire most are Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and Sylvester L. Anderson.
What are your career aspirations?
I think that keeping inspired in a career can wane, no matter who you are. If I find this happening, I take a break from my desk and walk out in nature (preferably by the water). This will calm me and help me refocus my train of thought. It helps to write down the why behind why you do what you do as a career and look at this piece of paper when you find yourself feeling uninspired as a way to re-ignite the spark in you!
Tell me about your coming book.
I am working on a collection of short stories. It will be my third book and the first one that is fiction. I am not releasing too much about this upcoming book… yet.
What do you think needs to be done to reduce the violence against women?
I think that we need to stop putting the onus on women to prevent violence. I suggest instead that we educate men about respecting women and what a healthy relationship looks like. Instead of looking at sexual assaults as “what did she do to be treated that way?” let’s instead say “why did he do that?” But, better yet, let’s address the issue before it even happens.
Do you think that women can overcome traumas through writing?
I think writing is a therapeutic tool, absolutely. Journaling is just one example. My therapist had recommended it to me, and I found it helpful for making sense of a full mind. Reading the words on paper was scary at first, but it does force you to come to terms with the past and only by doing so can you move ahead.
How can writing be a powerful tool to speak out about women’s rights?
For me, writing provides a way to connect with women whom I might not otherwise ever meet in person. Blog posts, articles, and books are all powerful ways of educating women and men about gender equality. My last book Versions of the Self explores the different types of relationships and explains how we each affect one another. The great thing about the written word is that it can be read re-read and savored whenever a person wants.
If you could advise a young girl who lives in a vulnerable territory, what would it be?
It would depend on the exact situation. If she is scared, I would encourage her to reach out to someone she trusts and express what is behind her fear. This person can then take the steps necessary to get this child to a safe place. Also, I would tell her to trust her instincts. If something feels off, it likely is!
Feel free to leave any message to our readers.
Feminism is not an ugly word! Often a person raises an eyebrow at me when I explain that some of the writing I do concerns the subject of feminism. It is about protecting female rights around the globe, and we deserve to fight back at the attacks being made on it. Let’s stand strong and unite, men and women, to make the world a more peaceful and fair place to live.
by Vanessa Daniela
Empowering girls is the key to a prosperous society.
We are pleased to support Gricey RT. An amazing young artist who is well known for her geometry portraits. Gricey is launching her new portraits on our website in October.
Read the exclusive interview with this talented artist.
Born and raised in Northern Mexico, the artist behind this trend, Gricey RT, is only 15 years old. She is currently studying his first years of high school, but she already has a promising career in the field of Art & Mathematics.
French, English and Spanish speaker — she has a wide perspective of different cultures from which she finds inspiration and applies it to her art.
Her goal is to inspire this generation with art as her tool–therefore, the birth of this website, just to share her pieces with the world and to raise funds in order to keep developing her art techniques.
When did you discover your passion for the arts?
I have always tried to express myself through any kind of visual art, as far as memory holds. About three years ago, when my former math teacher gave us an assignment about tessellations—handmade drawings made of a pattern of geometric figures—I realized I could combine my art with basic geometry. However, unlike Leonhard Euler’s great masterpieces, I decided to put my own twist to it—implementing faces. That is because when I was nine years old I began developing a passion for the human face’s proportions and little characteristic that can make it different from everyone else.
Do you think art is a therapy?
Absolutely. It helps people going through tough times and traumas, and it is certainly as a mean to express your inner thoughts without the fear of criticism. No matter how you do it, you learn to love it and be proud of it; what really matters, however, is your feelings towards it and the opinion you have about it. It is unique. It is yours.
Tell me about your art motivation
My art motivation is the combination of both my fascination for art and mathematics. My goal is to highlight the distinctive features of the human face, to capture its beauty in a minimalist way. I enjoy drawing a human face with its own characteristics—large eyes, small forehead, big checks, you name it. The trick is using lines only. But in the end, the reaction of the people when I hand them their portrait is the most satisfying part and my biggest motivation.
Who is your favorite artist?
I consider Vincent van Gogh as my lifetime favorite because of his distinctive style and perspective of the world. To illustrate, his paintings clearly show the brush-stroke. Also, the effect of continuous movement in his painting Starry Night. Banksy’s political activism, on the other hand, caught my attention. His intention to transmit his message about politics through “illegal” means. He agreed to the possibility of going to jail, not showing his face, and doing it at night. Nowadays you have to be more spontaneous and creative in the way you share your art, like the previous example.
Tell me about your favorite art piece.
My favorite art piece is The Creation of Adam and The David by Michelangelo because I like the way he captured the essence of the human body. Also, the Sunflowers of Van Gogh. A personal reason, my favorite color is yellow.
What are your career aspirations?
I have always clear that engineering is my area of vocation, in specific the area of cybernetics and electronics. Designing and developing prostheses to help amputees is one of my goals. Although recently my focus has been on developing my own style in art, I am sure that I will find a way to merge both aspects of design and achieve innovation in my area of study as well as on the artistic side.
Tell me about your coming project.
My upcoming project is a collection of the outstanding women throughout time. My intention the promotion of the idea that women are dauntless, empowered and capable of anything.
What do you think needs to be done to reduce the violence against women?
I think we should educate our children that women are capable. We should encourage them to participate in social movements and politics. Making society aware women’s mistreatment through the means of art, like poems—like Button Poetry (which I really love)—performance art such as Marina Abramovic and Kara Walker, social movement such as The Art Hoe Collective, photography and visual art; Women support each other and empower one another.
Do you think through art women can overcome traumas?
Through art, we can put our traumas and difficult situations apart. This helps us to observe and analyze with objectiveness. That is because the first step to overcome, is to organize what we feel and what we think, and a way to do it, as I said, is through art.
How art can be a powerful tool to speak out about women’s rights?
I often think how in the past women art wasn’t well treated or even accepted. But since then, we had acquired the courage to express, create and show our art. At this point, we start to make ourselves conscious that we are also human beings and that we deserve the same opportunities as men do. So now I can say that we can inspire new generations of women to create and fight for what we want.
If you could give advice to a young girl, who lives in a vulnerable territory. What would it be?
All problems at a certain point, tend to end. In a good or a bad way, however. But the difficult part is living with them. Art is always a good way to escape because it helps you to focus and express your ideas. A painting, sculpture, a song, it doesn’t matter. And you don’t need expensive equipment to produce it, as I do, you can implement the concept of Minimalism, created by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. After all, your only true supply is your imagination and the most important thing, what really matters is your opinion.
Feel free to leave any message to our readers.
I think that art has to do completely with feelings, it’s expressing yourself in different ways, and by the other hand opening your view of the World, because all of us see different things in a same piece of art. But no matter the place, people, culture, etc. Feelings are the universal language. So in some way art is telling us that we are all equal. As human beings, we have the same opportunities, strengths, weakness, etc. And that these art pieces deserve our attention, our respect, and tolerance.
“My work takes inspiration from walking, running and cycling in the great outdoors, and all that encompasses, maps, flora, fauna, and weather.” Artist Angela Hennessy illustrated Tough Girl Challenges podcast host Sarah Williams’ 100-day walk of the Appalachian Trail in 2017.
by Charlie Brewer
Where Do We Go Now is the story of a small Lebanese village threatened by Christian-Muslim conflicts. The village is unnamed. The time is unspecified. It could be anywhere, anytime The men in the isolated village get along well with one another, until they get wind of the international conflicts between their faiths. Once they do, they are immediately split by religion despite the protests from their respective religious leaders. Their wives are tired and scared of the effects of their rage on their village, and do their damnedest to ensure the harmony and, in turn, their safety from one another. Director, co-writer, and star Nadine Labaki crafts a beautiful homage to the strength and cunning of the often underestimated and under appreciated Middle Eastern woman. All at once, she displays to her audience the crippling effects of reality, the joyful camaraderie of a musical, and the ups and downs of a forbidden romance. All of these ideas are connected by one single conflict, showcasing just how imperative it is to comprehend the effects of religious prejudice. Where Do We Go Now blurs the line between fictional characters and reality, inspiring its audience to take the lessons it teaches and apply them to their lives.
This film serves to inspire young women around the world because it was created by, for, and about women. It showcases the female gender in an entirely different light: yes, the women of the village are the traditional mothers and wives, but insists that those same women are intelligent, complex, raw characters that are often taken for granted. When this movie began with a group of women crying over their late husbands and sons, I reluctantly settled in for another male-dominated war movie about Courage in the Face of Adversity. Then the women began a
slow, heavy dance in time with one another. All at once, it was about the wives’ grief, the story less told but no less painful. It is clear from the first scene that this is no story we’ve been told before, zeroing in on the fact that the same women crying for the men they lost are completely their own beings, independent and strong and even manipulative in their own right. The husbands become the simplistic one-track minded characters, and the audience receives a much-needed insight into the minds of the loving wife and mother. The women effortlessly put aside their differences in religion in favor of the well-being of the village, manipulating their husbands like puppet masters. They are clever, cunning, loving, emotional, strong, weak, hateful, broken, and whole, all in one. For once, we are shown a complex, well-written hero in the form of the dowdy middle-aged mother. This film proves that anyone can be a hero, and that everyone – especially your mother – is one.
Every time I watch this film, I notice something new. I laugh. I cry. I call my mother. I learn. The making of this movie was not about gains, about fame, about money; instead of it was about sending a message that everyone can understand. This movie is art, because it disturbs the comfortable and comforts the disturbed. Both sides are affected, both sides respond, and both sides blame the other for negative reactions. It is here that developing the wives, characters becomes even more imperative, because they are in the middle of the issue. As an American, it is fascinating to examine the conflict that our nation barely makes an effort to understand through the lense of a character we can all connect to. This film, with its story and its characters and its creators, inspires me to be the director, the creator, the artist I want to be.
Image Source: http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/hammerandthump/interview-nadine-labaki-director-co-writer-and-star-of-where-do-we-go-now/
Juana Lichi is a mixed media artist who loves to work with textiles, prints, and fabrics. Her canvases and portraits are unique, blending modern and traditional.
Writing tips from author and pop culture writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.