A Force for Change – Group Show

UN Women, New York, United States
27 Jul 2021 - 31 Jul 2021

Nandipha Mntambo, Praca de Touros V and VI (2020). Digital photograph on cotton paper 101.8 76.8cm inked and 5cm margin

Nandipha Mntambo, Praca de Touros V and VI (2020). Digital photograph on cotton paper 101.8 76.8cm inked and 5cm margin

UN Women, the agency of the United Nations dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment, will host the first all-Black, all-women global selling exhibition and auction titled A Force for Change, with proceeds benefiting Black women across the world and the participating artists.

Open to the public from July 27 through 31, 2021 at 530 W 25th Street, New York, New York 10001, the exhibition includes 26 works by prominent and emerging female artists of African descent to recognize and elevate awareness of the transformative power of Black women’s art in social justice movements, and to support UN Women’s nascent global Black Women’s Programme. The exhibition will be accompanied by online discussions on the role of artists in social justice movements and Black Women and the Art Market.

Works in the exhibition are offered for sale on Artsy, the largest global online art marketplace, from July 16, 2021 to July 30, 2021 with the auction ending at 2pm on July 30, 2021. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go toward launching UN Women’s nascent global Black Women Programme, designed to connect women of African descent in Africa and the Diaspora through comprehensive programming around economic empowerment in the creative industries; connecting women’s movements across the Diaspora to strengthen their voices, action and impact; and addressing violence against women.

As a deliberate effort to raise awareness of the global gender pay gap and the value of women’s work, the other 50 percent will go directly to the artist. Furthermore, to protect the artists, buyers will pledge not to sell the work for at least five years; give artists the right of first refusal on resale; and give artists 15 percent of the sale price, if works are sold.

Erin Jenoa Gilbert, Curator and Art Advisor, added: “Though the abstract and figurative works presented in this exhibition were composed by women of great linguistic and aesthetic diversity, their works are statements of survival and of solidarity. Subversively challenging the status quo, these images symbolically connect the concurrent civil and human rights movements in Africa, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Europe and the United States. This exhibition simultaneously offers a glimpse into the past and the future as re-imagined by women of African descent. The empowered images of women, presented by the artists in this exhibition, evidence the influence of intersectionality and the inextricable ties between women across the African diaspora.

A Force for Change is intergenerational, international and interdisciplinary. Born between 1935 and 1997, the artists in this exhibition currently live and work in South Africa, Senegal, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Brazil, Somalia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Presenting nuanced counter-narratives to the mainstream media’s presentation of women of African descent, the exhibition includes photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, and film in which the central character is the Black woman.

The exhibition includes works by the following artists:
1. Tschabalala Self (b.1990) USA
2. Akosua Adoma Owusu (b.1984) Ghana / USA
3. Andrea Chung (b.1978) Jamaica
4. Phoebe Boswell (b.1982) Kenya/UK
5. Wura Natasha Ogunji (b.1970) Nigeria / USA
6. Sungi Mlengeya (b. 1991) Tanzania
7. Shinique Smith (b. 1971) USA
8. Deborah Roberts (b.1962) USA
9. Rosana Paulino (b.1967) Brazil
10. Janaina Barros Brazil
11. Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi (b.1980) South Africa
12. Zohra Opoku (b. 1976) Ghana
13. Esther Mahlangu (b.1935) South Africa
14. Ayan Farah (b.1978) Somalia
15. Nandipha Mntambo (b.1982) South Africa
16. Selly Raby Kane (Senegal)
17. Zina Saro Wiwa (b.1976) Nigeria
18. Wangari Mathenge (b.1973) Kenya
19. Virginia Chihota (b.1983) Zimbabwe
20. Cinthia Sifa Mulanga (b.1997) Democratic Republic of the Congo
21. Yelaine Rodriguez, Dominican Republic
22. Cassi Namoda, (1988) Mozambique
23. Sheena Rose (1985) Barbados
24. Joiri Minaya (1990) Dominican Republic
25. Joana Choumali (1974) Ivory Coast
26. Zanele Muholi (1974) South Africa




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