Visual artist Maria Maria Acha-Kutscher is proud to call herself a feminist. In fact, it’s the driving force behind most of her work. In her latest project the artist has partnered with Global Fund for Women, JASS, and MADRE to illustrate 14 “DefendHers” – human rights defenders who are working to end violence against women, advance LGBTQI rights; protect the planet and the rights of indigenous communities and more.
“These women stand up under threat of violence not only to them, but often their families too. Yet they refuse to stop their struggle because they believe that our human rights must be protected and respected,” Global Fund for Women explains. “Their work is crucial for advancing human rights and yet, many of us have never heard their stories.”
This project was a perfect fit for Maria Maria whose artwork shows the lives of real women who have shaped the world by advocating for equality. “My work plays a dual role: being an artistic product and also an instrument that contributes to political transformations. Each image tells a story of struggle that has brought important changes to the way we perceive gender and, consequently, to the history of humankind,” she says about her participation in #DefendHer. “The campaign reminds us that we, as a global community, must continue to support the most vulnerable communities to build a fair world.”
The women featured in the campaign include: Alia Almirchaoui (Iraq), Ana Sandoval (Guatemala), Azra Causevic (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay (Philippines), Honorate Nizigiyimana (Burundi), Irina Maslova (St. Petersburg), Khadra Al Sanah, Sidreh (Israel), Leduvina Guill Zamora (Nicaragua), Magdalena Kafair (Indonesia), Forces United for Our Disappeared (Mexico), Marta Alicia Alanis (Argentina), Melania Chiponda (Zimbabwe), Miriam Miranda (Honduras), and Tin Tin Nyo (Thailand).
To learn more about these incredible women we should all know, visit globalfundforwomen.org and click on each image to read their individual stories. You can also join in the campaign by sending a #DearDefendHer message of support to let these bold women know that you stand with them. “Spread the message.”