As part of the STARS Citywide Girls Initiative, an initiative funded through the New York City Council, a team of young women facilitated the research, design and creation of a mural to raise public awareness and encourage dialogue about gender-based violence. Their mural, “Gender Violence and the Culture that Perpetuates It,” uses art to express the importance of empowering women in order to stop violence.
The central figure is a woman depicted as an ancient statue carrying a pillar. On the top edge of the pillar is the outline of a New York skyline with arches stating: “woman, leader, mother, human, sister, partner.” The figure is portrayed as a strong powerful carrier, symbolizing the foundation for life and strength. To her left, a woman holds a flag high. The flag billows out into a ribbon that crosses the entire mural. The ribbon has the text “We are the root of life” on it. On the right side of the mural, a face in profile has colorful rays emerging from its mouth. In the rays the team wrote different examples of gender-based violence such as “Objectification,” “Stereotype,” and “Slut-Shamed.” Flowers and leaf designs are intertwined within the overall mural.
The team installed this mural on a basketball court as neighborhood residents were playing. The residents were inspired by the message of the mural: that all women are as “strong” and “powerful” as the statue in the mural.