2015 ABOG Fellow Suzanne Lacy to Collaborate with 1,000 Men in Public Performance on Gender-Based Violence in Quito, Ecuador

A Blade of Grass is pleased to announce that on the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Wednesday, November 25, 2015, ABOG Fellow Suzanne Lacy will lead a performance with artists and activist collaborators titled De tu puño y letra: Diálogos en el ruedo in Quito, Ecuador, that seeks to engage a broad spectrum of men in ending violence against women. Featuring hundreds of men taking a public stand about the need to have more inclusive conversations about violence against women and children and the impacts of violence on men, the performance will take place in the Plaza Belmonte in Quito, the only currently in use bullfighting ring in the city.

Plaza Belmonte, Quito, Ecuador, 2015. Photo courtesy the artist.

Plaza Belmonte, Quito, Ecuador, 2015. Photo courtesy the artist.

To prepare for the November 25th performance, workshops for the 1,000 male participants are planned for Fall 2015 where they will learn about violence, explore concepts of masculinity, and engage with possible solutions. During these workshops, each participant will “adopt” a letter from an unknown woman and through this letter interrogate his own understandings of family violence. The letters were generated through the Cartas de Mujeres [Letters from Women] project, an emblematic and highly successful consciousness-raising campaign initiated in 2012 that invited women and men of all ages to submit their testimonies about violence, led by the Municipality of the Metropolitan District of Quito, in partnership with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and with support from UN Women. In Ecuador alone, 10,000 letters were written by women throughout the country.

Building on these letters and collaborative workshops, the male participants will then work with local artists and activists to co-create the culminating 60-minute participatory performance that will include music, readings, personal testimonials, and choreography. A remarkable cross section of people—including artists and activists from Ecuador, Mexico and the United States, as well as hundreds of non-professionals—and organizations are represented in this production. Primary support for the project is provided by the Metropolitan District of Quito through the Foundation of the City Museums (FMC) and the Center for Contemporary Art in Quito, along with key partners in both higher education and municipal government, including the Secretary of Social Inclusion, Secretary of Territorial Coordination and Participation, Secretary of Health, Secretary of Security and Governance, Patronato San Jose Municipal Foundation, the United States Embassy, and the Global Health Program at Universidad de las Américas, among others. Initial support was provided by Creative Time through their Global Residency Program, funded by the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and by The Rockefeller Foundation, through their Bellagio Creative Arts Fellowship.

“The ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art is designed to support exactly this kind of durational, process-based art work that harnesses the efforts of many community stakeholders to enact social change,” said Deborah Fisher, founding Executive Director of A Blade of Grass. “We are honored to be working with such a leader in the field of socially engaged art, and are looking forward to learning more about Suzanne Lacy’s process through this Fellowship.”

About Suzanne Lacy
Suzanne Lacy is recognized internationally for work with strong social content, particularly in relation to women’s rights, gender-based violence, racism and activism. Her prolific career includes performances, video and photographic installation, critical writing and public practices in communities. A leader in the Los Angeles performance and conceptual art scene of the 1970s, Lacy helped shape the emergent art of social engagement and continues to expand the use of art for social justice. She has exhibited in The Tanks at Tate Modern in London; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum and MoMA P.S. 1 in New York; and The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum in Spain. She has received numerous fellowships, including awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, The Henry Moore Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts. Lacy is founding chair of the MFA in Public Practice at the Otis College of Art and Design. www.suzannelacy.com

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