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CARE USA Launches Arts for Gender Equality Fellowship with Support from The Rockefeller Foundation

A collage featuring the headshots of the eight artists who are part of the Gender Arts Fellowship.

The fellows include eight groundbreaking female artists from around the world

ATLANTA, GA. (OCTOBER 5, 2023) – CARE USA is proud to announce the Arts for Gender Equality fellowship, made possible through a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation. The group of fellows include eight visionary artists working to advance gender equality through creative expression. They represent diverse voices from across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

​​​Established in 2022, CARE USA’s Arts for Gender Equality fellowship seeks to harness the power of art to catalyze and inspire social change by supporting a cohort of artists who will each connect their new work with grassroots, international arts, and justice groups for collective reflections, exploration, and action.

“CARE is so proud to work with The Rockefeller Foundation on this critical initiative to support the art community’s work and efforts to galvanize social change. Through this project and group of visionaries, we hope to leverage the power of the arts to inspire and drive forward meaningful action towards gender justice and equality,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO, CARE USA.

The fellows, who were selected from more than 70 candidates after a competitive and global nomination and application process, will follow one of two tracks. The first, focused on production, offers a production stipend and a four-week artist residency at The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy. The second track offers artists a production stipend and a grant to host local events that will engage activists and their communities to catalyze gender equality through movement building.

“Art has a unique ability to change hearts and minds, which is why The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to support CARE in advancing the work of artists who are inspiring dialogue and motivating action that moves the needle towards gender equality,” said Sarah Geisenheimer, Vice President of Innovation at The Rockefeller Foundation. “We are honored to add these artists to the global network of creators whose work has changed the world after their residencies at The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center.”

Over the next several months, the artists will work in their places of residence to produce and develop their projects. Later this fall, CARE will bring the cohort together virtually to discuss critical themes that connect their work within the movement for gender equality.

Soe Yu Nwe, Myanmar – Visual Artist (Ceramics and Drawing)

“The power of connecting artists and those who work at the intersection of arts and social movements across different geographies is the possibility of inspiring and motivating each other by nurturing a wonderful synergy, friendship, and collaboration.” shares Nwe. “As an artist, I often work in solitude in a studio setting. The conversation and support that arises from realization of mutual struggles can help alleviate a sense of isolation and self-doubt.”

Nwe’s experience of living cross-culturally has inspired her to reflect upon her own identity through making and conceiving art as a fluid, fragile, and fragmented entity. Through transfiguration of her emotional landscape by poetically depicting nature and body in parts, she ponders the complexities of individual identity in this rapidly changing globalized society.

Emilia Yang, Nicaragua/US – Interdisciplinary Artist

“I look forward to creating spaces, fostering collaborations, and working with socially engaged artists and activists from all over the world,” says Yang. “I hope to share experiences, practices, and tools that strengthen our creative and organizing processes. I believe that weaving support networks of women has the power to transform our societies.”

Yang’s art practice utilizes expanded forms of digital media (XR, transmedia, web, film, archives, performance, games, and public interventions) for the creation of community-based feminist, anti-racist, and transformative justice projects. Her research explores the role of memory, violence, emotions, performance, and participation in the political imagination.

Etinosa Yvonne, Nigeria – Photographer

“I find it so helpful connecting to other artists and sharing thoughts that I had in my mind for a long time…I am very much interested in using this fellowship to figure me and my relationship to my practice out,” shares Etinosa.

Etinosa is a self-taught documentary photographer and visual artist. She works with various art forms including photos and videos. The primary focus of her work is the exploration of themes related to culture, religion, tradition, the environment, the human condition, and social injustice.

Sabika Abbas Naqvi, India – Poet

“The purpose of my poetry is to act as archives, to tell the stories that everyone refuses to tell…To not just talk about our plight but also the dreams and hopes that we carry in our ribcages, the stories of resilience and love and methods of friendships and solidarities,” explains Naqvi.

Naqvi is a poet, student of history, gender rights activist, and alternative educator, inspired by feminist and queer politics – the subject of many of her poems. She is the founder of Sar-e-Rahguzar, a movement to bring poetry to the streets. She performs protest poetry in public spaces to shake people out of their comfort zones and force them to pause whatever urgent journey they’re on and listen.

Jasmeen Patheja, India – Interdisciplinary Artist

“It is extremely powerful to connect artists at the intersection of social movements and geographies because this practice is still rare, often unscripted, and artists are finding their own path or ways of doing this work,” says Patheja. “There is no ‘model.’ Coming together will allow us to know our shared landscape while understanding the local contexts of resistance and art practice.”

Patheja is an artist in public service who builds ideas for public and collective action. She designs and facilitates methodologies committed to ending violence against women, girls, and all persons. She is the founder and facilitator of Blank Noise, a growing community taking agency to end sexual and gender-based violence.

Gloriann Sacha Antonetty Lebrón, Puerto Rico – Writer

“My work as a writer, communicator, and artivist of afrofeminism and racial justice is mainly nourished by creating a community and movement that…make Afro-Latinx communities and people visible,” explains Lebrón.

Lebrón is an Afropuertorican writer, communication strategist, and professor. She is the founder of Revista étnica, a print magazine dedicated to celebrating the beauty and social issues of the Afro-Latinx communities in Puerto Rico. She has also published the collection of poems entitled Hebras, as well as various works in the Academia magazine of EDP University, Boreales, Letras Magazine of the UMET, and Afroféminas, among other outlets.

Sungi Mlengeya, Tanzania – Painter

“One of the first serious paintings I made was of my mother. Since the beginning, I’ve been intrigued and drawn to paintings of women. Over time, I began to act and reconnect my work with themes of gender equality,” shares Mlengeya. “I’m passionate about creating and hope to see a community that is more gender equal – both of which will always drive me to influence my community for the better.”

Mlengeya is a self-taught artist. She works primarily in the acrylic medium on canvas, creating paintings that are free, minimalist, and with a curious use of negative space. Most of her works consists of dark figures in minimal shades of black and browns against perfectly white backgrounds, a commemoration of the women who surround her.

Dayna Ash, Lebanon – Performance Artist/ Playwright

“I believe my work will inspire other women to continue to share experiences and stories that otherwise fall into the cracks of time,” says Ash. “I hope that the work will impact people’s mental health and capacity to embrace our sense of belonging. The work aims to assist women and queers with identities that contradict each other to create alternative and new forms of space and a new understanding of belonging ‘to.’”

Ash is a cultural and social activist and writer. She is the founder and Executive Director of Haven for Artists, an unapologetic feminist cultural organization based in Beirut, Lebanon working at the intersection of art and activism.

To learn more about this initiative, the artists’ work, and upcoming Arts for Gender Equality events, visit: https://www.care.org/gender-equality-artist-fellowship/

Media contact:  Ashley Shackleford, CARE US Press Officer:  ashley.shackleford@care.org


About CARE

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls. This year, CARE and partners worked in 111 countries implementing 1,600 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects and initiatives that reached 174,000,000 people.

To learn more, visit www.care.org

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We make big bets to promote the well-being of humanity. Today, we are focused on advancing human opportunity and reversing the climate crisis by transforming systems in food, health, energy, and finance. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on X @RockefellerFdn.


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