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Using artwork as weapon against GBV

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Project uses an online platform to sell art to raise funds to help in the fight against gender-based violence

Picture: Supplied

TWO MONTHS into a national lockdown, the number of gender-based violence cases has increased.

Now activists seek to reverse this reality.

Lifeline SA chief executive Molefi Takalo said the number of GBV distress calls had gone up from 12 000 to almost 80 000 since the first week of the lockdown.

This led Lee-Anne Germanos, a legal researcher into GBV and the criminal justice system, and Leanne Berger, an illustrator and designer, to join forces to start a non-profit organisation, The Embrace Project (Every Human’s Power).

The project is an online platform where works of art are placed on sale and funds raised are used to assist grassroots organisations against GBV and those affected by it.

The idea for the project was born after Berger read an article written by Germanos on GBV at the start of the coronavirus, and approached her with the idea for the project.

The initiative combines both their unique set of skills, in a bid to combat GBV in the country. 

“The Embrace Project provides an online platform for the sale of artwork by various South African artists and creatives who collaborate with our organisation. The proceeds of these sales are given to selected grassroots organisations already combating GBV in their communities,” said the two.

One of the confirmed beneficiaries is FightBack SA.

The Embrace Project also creates awareness through its social media platforms on the prevalence and causes of GBV, while working simultaneously at changing the narrative of violence and disempowerment, said Berger and Germanos.

Artworks are donated by artists through collaborative efforts. These include fine art prints, original art, illustrations and other media.

Berger and Germanos said: “We are always looking for artists to collaborate with and who would be willing to donate their artwork to The Embrace Project. We also appeal to the public to make a conscious purchase by buying the artwork sold on The Embrace Project’s online platform, knowing where the proceeds will go.”

Those interested in making a contribution or to find out more, e-mail [email protected] or [email protected]

A pre-sale launch is expected to take place on June 12.