A cultural approach into rehabilitating Yazidi women survivors from ISIS

Art therapy to yazidi women to improve their physical, mental, wellbeing and rehabilitate them
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Campaign unsuccessfully ended on: 08 Jan,2016

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Everything in culture tells us that women’s experiences don’t matter as much. The male experience is always painted as universal, as the most human experience, while women were always written through the eyes of men, making them a sort of reduced human being. This is also the case in KRI. This project is aimed at countering this phenomenon by gathering up female artists with Yazidi girls who escaped sexual slavery from ISIS. By providing art therapy to Yazidi girls as well as promoting female artists and help to document the atrocities in this conflict from a female perspective.

Project goal

The mail goal of this project is empowering and rehabilitation of Yazidi women survivors (escaped from ISIS).

Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The creative process involved in expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviors and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness because it dives into the underlying messages communicated through art, which will aid in the healing process. In this project we will provide reflective painting workshops to Yzidi girls who were affected by the violence used against them by ISIS.

Project Activities

The workshop will be given by professional female painters who either are or who aspire to become war artist. A war artist depicts some aspect of war through art. The art might be a pictorial record, or it might commemorate how war shapes lives. War artists explore the visual and sensory dimensions of war, often absent in written histories or other accounts of warfare. The works produced by war artists illustrate and record many aspects of war, and the individual's experience of war. The role of the artist and her work embraces the causes, course and consequences of conflict and it has an essentially educational purpose.

The documentation and workshop will not only be done by female war artist but also female writers, because we think that female writer lies in the fact that they can write about women the way women actually are.

This project will be done as follows:

We will select 12 Yzidi women escapees from ISIS, 6 female war artists and 6 female writers, all willing to participate in this project. They will visit Lalish temple and other Yazidi area to understand the culture, religion and background of Yazidis. After this trip, they will be divided in 6 groups, each group containing 2 Yzidi girls, 1 female war artist and 1 female writer.

In the 1st day the artist will explain what art is and give the basic know how of how to paint. The Yazidi girls will learn how to paint. The writer will join the group and document the process and give her insight of the group dynamic. It is a good introduction for the members of the group as they will also get know each other and build trust.

The 2nd  day is an intensive day. The Yazidi girls will tell their story openly in the group as the writer documents it. The painter and the writer will discuss with them and listens to their stories. The painter will document each girls story or each individual in a painting. The painting cannot be revealed to the girls yet.

The 3rd  day is the day that the Yazidi girl will paint themselves or their story. The painter can help and assist them if needed.

The 4th day is the day of revealing the paintings. The Yazidi girl will reveal her painting first, explaining why she painted herself this way and why. Then the artist will reveal her painting of the Yazidi girl and explain how she views her and her story and why she depicted her or her story in this manner. A comparison is made. The group will discuss the importance of perception of each other. The Yazidi girls will be more self-aware and this could boost their self-esteem as they will see themselves from a different perspective.  The writer will tell how she views the story of the girl and what she documented. There will be group discussion about the paintings and the stories exchanged.

The 5th day is the big reveal day. All the painting will be shown and the participants can view the works of other groups and can discuss freely amongst each other and discover the versatile field of art as well as the diversity of perspectives. All participants will understand that there are more perspectives than one can perceive.

Two-weeks later: All participants of the project will meet again, in order to reconnect the participants , stay in contact and discussing how they present their work to public.

One month later: An exhibition in Lalish Temple of the paintings will organize . After which we will seek to give an exhibition in different galleries in all the major cities in KRI. And perhaps even in peace museums across the world. The writers accounts will be processed in a book which will contain 12 stories of 12 Yazidi girls.

We will document the project and producing a short movie on the project.

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Erbil ( Irbil ), Iraq
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Emma is non-governmental, independent and non-profiting organization. It works according to its human values in order to improve the principles of human rights in Iraq through advocacy campaigns, training and rehabilitation of GBV survivors

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This project is aimed at countering phenomenon by gathering up female artists with Yazidi girls who escaped sexual slavery from ISIS. By providing art therapy to Yazidi girls as well as promoting female artists and help to document the atrocities in this conflict from a female perspective.
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