|Veronica by Gee Vaucher|
For the past month, I’ve stayed home on Saturday mornings. People connected with 400 Women have been delivering freshly painted, varnished and framed portraits to my flat. Artists, their friends and partners, have been dropping of ‘their girl’. It has been a colourful stream of people of different nationalities, genders and ages, all concerned about the project, all of whom have gifted it their time and art. The works sit in my living room, staring at me, and I sit waiting for more deliveries. The faces of women, teenagers and children stare at me mutely. Whenever I receive a work, I unpack it to look at it, and set it up on one of the tables and chests around the room. Recently, I have had to wrap some of them back up. Their gaze is too powerful.
Until the exhibition opens on 11 November, my flatmates will be treated to new art works every week. They are part of the growing group of people connected with 400 Women, affected by their knowledge of the facts that prompted the project. The exhibition is gaining momentum. We found out yesterday that we have been awarded an Arts Council grant to produce the show; Amnesty International recently came on board as our official partners; the international media are sitting up and taking notice. The project is taking its toll on those involved but it is also getting people’s attention and provoking a sense of outrage over an untenable and indefensible situation. The figure of 400 women is now old news. Since January 2010 there have been more than 300 women murdered or abducted in the area. That’s more than one a day.