by editorial intern Kimya Kavehkar
It’s important to recognize women who are doing admirable things in the world – especially when they’re taking action that isn’t highly publicized. San Francisco’s International Museum of Women is doing just that with Picturing Power and Potential, a new exhibit showcasing women from around the world who are effecting change. Featuring work from 50 different artists, the large-scale photographs spotlight women who participate in their local economy – in both ordinary and extraordinary ways.
Photographer Anne Hamersky shows us a group of American women called Cultivating Change, who grow plants, fruit, and herbs to make fresh and healthy food available to their families and neighbors. One member of this group is a teenage girl who plants a crop of tomatoes to sell at a nearby farmers’ market.
Another incredible story comes from Gujarat, India. Photographer Ariko Inaoka shows a young girl dressed in the colorful and ornate clothing typical of her lower caste. The beautiful detailing of her outfit juxtaposes the often brutal working life of women in her caste. According to the IMOW website, “More than ninety percent are self-employed, with few labor laws to protect them from exploitation. However, since the early 1970s, the state of Gujarat has set up the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) to protect women from usurious lenders, corrupt police, and an indifferent justice system.”
With 48 more inspirational stories left to read and more stirring photographs to view, it is definitely worth the trip to the museum to check out this free exhibit. And luckily for those of us not in the San Francisco area, the photographs and stories can be seen on the museum’s website.