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Wangari Mathenge: UN Women "A Force for Change"

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 27–31 July 2021 at 530 W 25th Street, New York, NY 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. Works by artists Cinthia Sifa Mulanga, Tschabalala Self, Sungi Mlengeya, Wangari Mathenge, Zanele Muholi, and Selly Rabe Kane are included, among many others. The exhibition will be accompanied by online discussions on the role of artists in social justice movements and Black Women and the Art Market

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said: “Racial justice and gender inequality are not separate but integrally linked—and UN Women’s work prioritizes both. Through the global Black Women Programme, and this exhibition that will raise funding for that work, we will support Black women’s movements and organizations in different parts of the world to foster closer ties and give greater power to their voice and actions.”

Works in the exhibition are offered for sale on Artsy, the largest global online art marketplace, from 16 July to 30 July 2021, with the auction ending at 2pm EDT on 30 July 2021. Fifty per cent 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; connect women’s movements across the Diaspora to strengthen their voices, action, and impact; and address 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 per cent 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 per cent of the sale price if works are sold.