New York, art that generates life

At the brand-new PAC – Perelman Performing Arts Center in New York, Ground Zero, the faces of “in-visible” women shone in the exhibition Women’s Cry by Emotions to Generate Change.

In New York, we are witnessing art that generates life. The faces of in-visible women in the photographic exhibition Women’s Cry, organized by Emotions to Generate Change, are on display at the opening of the PAC (Perelman Performing Arts Center), at Ground Zero.

Women’s Cry at PAC NY

The city is restless on 20 September 2023 for the United Nations General Assembly Week. And here we are mounting easels and photographs, in the brand-new building that aims to be a haven of art, welcome, and inclusion. The PAC is a fascinating building. The architecture perfectly captures the goal: for art to bring hope to a place of death, where thousands of lives were crushed on 11 September 2011. And it is no coincidence that its opening week is dedicated to the theme of Refuge.

Women’s Cry: the Emotions to Generate Change exhibition

The exhibition curated by Lia and Marianna Beltrami with the World Women’s Observatory at the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organization (WUCWO-UMOFC), with the collaboration of HandShake and the Vatican Dicastery for Communication was presented in St Peter’s Square throughout May 2023. The photographs tell the story of the resilience of women in various parts of the world who seek a way of rebirth.

After Rome, the exhibition travelled to the Women’s Deliver conference in Kigali, Rwanda, and to the beautiful Cathedral of St Andrew in Mantua, Italy. And now, a selection was brought by Emotions to Generate Change to New York City with photos by Neşe Ari, Asaf Ud Daula, Sebastiano Rossitto, Ferran Paedes Rubio, Caterina Borgato, Giuseppe Cariddi and Vassilis Ikoutas (Turkey, Bangladesh, Italy, Spain, Greece). The talented photographers taking the viewer on a journey from Southeast Asia to Africa, from the Amazon to the Greek islands.

The opening of the exhibition in New York with art that generates life.

The event presenting the exhibition is a major reception titled Elevating Diverse Voices, organized by the PAC with Kathleen Ralston. Photos are displayed partly in the main lobby, partly in the concert venue, and on the terrace, amidst the skyscrapers and right below the Freedom Tower. We feel a deep symbolic responsibility.

JR Kerr opens the floor and is followed by the deputy director of Vatican Media, Alessandro Gisotti: “Great photographers from all over the world have contributed to the exhibition, capturing the faces of women. They tell stories of brotherhood, reconciliation and the fight against all discrimination, in support of human dignity and integral human development… Now it is up to us to spread these stories, to take courage from their testimonies and to commit ourselves to building a more fraternal humanity, where no woman should ever again suffer violence and discrimination… Because love is stronger than hatred.”

Actor and PAC director Bill Rauch

Bill Rauch’s face is luminous, like the cuts of the setting sun that create new play between photographs. The eyes of the young Eritrean girl at the Mai Aini refugee camp in Tigray, there amidst the glittering skyscrapers, do not judge, but question. And Bill Rauch is carried away by emotion. The challenge of opening an art centre in a place as powerful as Ground Zero is great. Bill interprets the meaning of the theme, ‘Refuge,’ welcoming the faces of our women: “These wonderful shots… represent exactly what we want to do here. And, yes, love is stronger than hate, creation is stronger than destruction. And we are here to prove it.”

Lia Beltrami concludes, summarizing the work done with Marianna Beltrami in seeking out those faces amidst forests and deserts: “Art really does become a generator of change and always a bearer of hope.”

New York, art that generates life. The faces of in-visible women at the opening of PAC, Ground Zero, with Emotions to Generate Change.

What change do we want to generate? When a viewer asks: “What can I do?”, the first step has already been taken, because art sets things in motion. It brings people out of the idea of “the pond,” the concrete block. The movement, after the first spark ignited by art, can go towards information. Try to understand, go deeper, get your own idea. And then you can choose concrete action. We don’t have to leave for the rainforest right away, but you can, for example, support one of the photo-related projects. Or become an Ambassador of the World Women’s Observatory. And then change something within ourselves so that we can ‘widen our tents’ to make room for fragility and diversity.

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