International Zero Tolerance Day #EndFGM Exhibition
Building on the success of the Savera UK Youth Conference and hard-hitting film #StopTheWedding, Savera UK Youth participated in a project with the National FGM Centre to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on February 6, 2019, which helped to raise awareness about this often hidden crime.
Creating the Exhibition
After speaking with survivors of female genital mutilation and learning more about the practice from Savera UK, the young people then worked with artist Joanne Tremarco and photographer Andrew ‘AB’ Abrahamson to learn valuable image-making and photography skills through a series of workshops.
In these workshops the young people learned how to translate what they had heard into powerful imagery, through sessions with Joanne making collage, assemblage and animation. Then, using the practical skills and knowledge about the rules of photography shared by AB, they took disposable cameras away to interpret their understanding of FGM through photography.
These photographs approach the subject matter from a more abstract and emotional point of view, informing the staged SLR photographs that carry a more explicit #EndFGM message.
Following further workshops with artist Joanne and Savera UK survivor ambassador and poet Kiara Mohamed Amin, the young people created poems, song and text related to FGM, in response to what they had learned from the survivor stories and from Savera UK. The young people also learned important skills about showcasing their work, such as how to hang an exhibition and how to write about their artwork to communicate its meaning as well as skills in performance and presentation.
#EndFGM at the National FGM Centre Seminar
The project culminated in Savera UK Youth’s participation at The National FGM Centre’s seminar on February 6 2019 in London.
Leading experts gathered at the seminar to explore the medical aspects of FGM, the medical challenges of identifying FGM and implications for the law. The feedback from seminar delegates on the exhibition was extremely positive and the young people also found the project extremely valuable.
Ayo Folarin, Savera UK Youth Participant at National FGM Centre seminar, said: “I’m blessed to have taken part and can’t wait for projects in the future.”
#EndFGM Exhibition Tour
Plans were made for the exhibition to be toured in the North West, however before this could happen, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and these plans were put on hold.
In February 2022 the exhibition was displayed once again in the ‘Make Space’ exhibition space of the International Slavery Museum in the Albert Dock, Liverpool. The exhibition opened to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM 2022 and was on display for a month.
The exhibition highlighted how FGM is not culture, that culture is beautiful and never an excuse for abuse and aimed to educate young people about FGM and the impact it has on those affected.
It also encouraged young people to speak out about this issue regardless of their background or gender and provided an opportunity to meet other young activists who want to make a difference and raise important issues among young people today.
You can learn more about the 2022 exhibition here.