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Google celebrates Women's Month with 'Refining Womanhood'

In celebration of Women's Month in South Africa, Google Arts and Culture and the African Leadership Academy have curated the stories and artworks of 30 young African women.

These artworks embody, embrace and showcase various aspects of womanhood.

The Refining Womanhood project, featuring 200 artworks including photographs, videos of interpretive dance, and musical performances, aims to celebrate the work of women artists and reflects on the struggle for equality, how far society has come, and how far we still need to go.

“At Google, representation, diversity and inclusion are key values and we strive to not only reflect these values internally but to help others showcase these. This exhibition is not only a tribute to the women of South Africa, but a testament to the lived experiences of women across the continent,” says a spokesperson from Google.

Artist Towel Kams Tembo, was a student at the ALA when she created the exhibition which is hosted on the African Leadership Academy page on Google Arts and Culture.

“The school's commitment to uplifting women inspired me and I created this exhibition to show the voices of female graduates and students and their works through which they expressed themselves,” she says.

Featured artists include:

Painting

Yassmine Boualam, who takes viewers on a journey of self-discovery through her art, and the therapeutic aspect of painting which led her to find peace within herself.

Daniella Nanziri, who uses painting not only to celebrate beauty but also to shed light on some of the difficulties young women face with body-image issues to hopefully empower them.

Photography

Rwandan-based photographer Tracey Keza uses portraiture in her series Hijabs and Hoodies to zoom into issues around identity politics, culture and conservation.

In her series Colorism: Shades of Africa which is profiled in the story We Will Not Be Silenced, Towel Kams Tembo used her camera to highlight the impact of preference of specific skin tones over others and how that affects different girls (and boys) in Africa and beyond.

Sound

Makenna Muigai uses the sounds of the violin to capture an experience that to her reflects the essence of womanhood.

Erika Kimani & Tanaka Chikati use the ‘Mbira’, a Zimbabwean instrument traditionally played by men, as a gateway into the past which triggers an intense recollection of memories and explores the theory of reincarnation.

“These artworks are a poignant expression of womanhood through an African lens and we hope that South Africans will take the time to explore and engage with them as we pay tribute to the women who set South Africa on a path to equality through their strength and their selflessness,” says a Google spokesperson.

To see the Women in Culture exhibit, go here


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