The #ENDFGM Exhibition was created by Savera UK Youth and is intended to help people learn about the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). Attending the exhibition is not only a matter of curiosity but, it could potentially save lives. Our event provides insight into this matter by illustrating the issue through the various exhibits that are on display. It also gives a good indication of the current impact of FGM and what action is necessary for a brighter future. The hope for the #ENDFGM Exhibition is to encourage individuals to contribute by, for example, sharing a post on social media or by joining our campaign to eradicate harmful practices like FGM.
The exhibition was set up for UK Parliament Week in November 2019, in order to bring attention to harmful practices, particularly FGM. We are grateful to the International Slavery Museum and Merseyside PCC Emily Spurrell, for supporting Savera UK Youth in allowing us to spotlight our message as we mark International Zero Tolerance Day for FGM 2022 (Sunday, 6th February).
So, what is female genital mutilation (FGM)?
FGM is a procedure that involves the total or partial removal of the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. FGM causes injury to the female genital organs and has no health benefits; additionally, it can cause major psychological trauma.
The person carrying out the procedure often is not medically trained and does not use sterilised equipment. It is also important to note that often times the people close to the person receiving the procedure, family and/or community, are regrettably involved.
What is the aim of the #ENDFGM Exhibition?
This exhibition is incredibly important in informing people about what FGM involves and the effects it can have. Using a combination of visual imagery and written pieces was imperative for us as the use of a variety of methods is useful when trying to portray a message to a large and varied group of people, as different individuals have different ways of learning.
How do you expect people to campaign against an issue they are unaware of? That’s the question that came to our minds when trying to lay the groundwork for the Savera UK Youth campaign to #ENDFGM. Knowledge is one of the most valuable things we have in our society as without shining a light on a topic it is very difficult to get people involved, and the support of the general public is vital for us to accomplish our goal to permanently eradicate FGM.
The exhibition was created after Savera UK Youth worked with photographer Andrew ‘AB’ Abrahamson to learn valuable photography skills and members also wrote poetry and created stop-motion animation videos after sessions with artist Joanne Tremarco and poet and Savera UK survivor ambassador Kiara Mohamed (learn more about these workshops here).
About the exhibition, a member of the Savera UK Youth Advisory Board said: “It is unbelievable how far we have come with this exhibition, to think that it began with the National FGM Centre. During the years, my knowledge around harmful practices has improved, and we have had the opportunity to express this through poetry, performances and photography.
“Those pieces of art have been created with the hope to inspire and encourage others to acknowledge those practises, using a different approach, as we are aiming to raise awareness among young people. We strongly believe that using art to do so is more powerful than just words, helping us to convey our message and encourage others to join us into our journey of speaking out.”
We hope you join us in our endeavour to #ENDFGM and learn more by visiting the #ENDFGM Exhibition at the International Slavery Museum, where it will be on display between Friday, 4th February and Sunday, 27th February 2022.
Written by Elias Folarin, Savera UK Youth Advisory Board