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Call for Participation in a Nationwide Challenge ‘Art for Freedom

·Calls for action to stop shaming& blaming of rape survivors and holdingthe perpetrator to account

· Powered by UN Women, Girl Up (UN Foundation), NIFT, &Symbiosis Institute

·Entries open till March 24, 2021

Hyderabad, 5th March, 2021: Encouraged by active participation of youth & civil society, #DNAFightsRape–Save the Evidenceawareness campaignlaunchesa nationwide creative challenge calledArt for Freedom’.The initiativeseeksto transform the way our society deals with survivors of rape & sexual violence, shifting the accountability from the survivor to the perpetrator.

Supported by leading United Nations entity for genderequality & women empowerment, UN Women India and Girl Up (UN Foundation),along with reputed academic institutions like National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi (NIFT) and Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune (SIMB),this drive aims to stir the power of creativity and influence of art on the society to bring a positive change.

Art for Freedom’ callsonall citizens –especially students, artists, designers, and creative professionals –to step forward and channelize theiranger, frustration, despair, and the range of emotions they experience whenever they hear about a brutal rape.The goal is to harness the power of art tocompel a rethink of the status quo and create a societywhere women, children, and diverse genders are free from constant fear.Only when regressive mindsets change, and the focus turns from the rape survivor to the sexual offender, can we build public confidence in theability of the criminal justice system to bring the guilty to justice with modern forensic science & technologies like DNA.

Nishtha Satyam, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women India said, “It is imperative to change socio-cultural and behavioural norms that perpetuate gender inequality and the normalization of violence against women. Art plays a crucial role in shaping culture and perceptions. We call upon you to join the 'Art for Freedom' campaign and strengthen the collective voice to end violence against women, girls, and diverse genders through the medium of Art”.

Neeti Banga, Associate Professor, NIFT Delhi added, “The power of critical thinking and creative expression is still untapped. The world needs kind hearts with inclusive mindsets.Be the voice! Express concerns for strong social issues through art,drama,music,dance, and touch the heart of humanity.This metamorphosis will help catalyze the emergence of new empathetic expressions and solutions, which today's Youth can drive. We are delighted to be associated with this cause and look forward to extending our support to bring the message home”.

Thischallenge entails creationand submission of original works of art where participants are free to choose their preferred form and medium of expression such aspaintings, sketches, sculptures, garments, poems, music recordings, and graffiti, as long as entries can be captured and shared digitally.

Entries will be screened and shortlisted underartist and non-artist categories. Nominations will be announcedon April 15th, World Art Dayand best works will be displayed in a Virtual Art Showcase. Winners will be selected based on final jury evaluationcomprising distinguished individuals from the fields of art, design, public policy, law & social justice,and academia.

The jury will evaluate all entries across five parameters namely, relevance to the brief; originality of idea; creativity & innovation; emotional quotient; and power to move people to action.All winners will be recognised with commemorative trophies & certificates. Studentsnominated in the non-artist category stand a chance to intern with Ogilvy India, provided they arepursuing their college degrees.

Lauding the initiative, Tim Schellberg, Founder & President, Gordon Thomas Honeywell—GAsaid, “Youth and artists have always been at the forefront of social movements world over. It is their creative expression and energy that provides powerful stimuli for change. India, like many other countries, has been trying to deal with a rape crisis and attempts are being made by the authorities to expand the use of advanced forensic technologies like DNA to bring down sexual crime and create a strong deterrent. While a lot more needs to be done on that front, it can only be effective if the culture changes from blaming the victim to going after the perpetrator with the help of DNA evidence he leaves at the crime scene.

Arneeta Vasudeva, Head, Public Relations & Influence, Ogilvy India added, “With a firm belief that art changes people and people change the world, we’re happy to launch the ‘Art for Freedom’ challenge with our partners to bring about a social transformation in the way we look at rape survivors. The tendency is to always find faults with the woman who’s been raped, where she erred, and what she could’ve done to avoid her fate. It’s time we put the spotlight on the offender instead and preserve DNA evidence to bring the guilty to justice.”

‘Art for Freedom’ is a part of the larger #DNAFightsRape–Save the Evidence citizen awareness drive that was launched November 25th, 2019, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,in partnership with the Delhi Police, AIIMS, UN Women India, and Red FM. Its aim has been to educate people on their role in saving crucial DNA evidence in sexual offense & rape cases to strengthen India’s criminal justice system. It has today become a movement with several members of thecivil society stepping forward to spread the message of “Don’t Wash, Don’t Clean. Save the Evidence”.


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