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What happened in Groningen on the 8th of March?

The 8th of March is International Women’s Day. On this day, women all over the world commemorate, celebrate, and fight. They fight because women continue to be victims of inequality and violence. They celebrate as women remember all the positive things about womanhood. And they commemorate all the brave women who have fought and are fighting for equality, but also the women that have enhanced our lives. 

These are three activities that could contradict each other, so how do all of them come together in one day? Apparently, the awareness committee of Amnesty International in Groningen knew exactly what to do. “Art by Women”. 

For the 8th of March, the awareness committee organized an initiative that encouraged female artists to come and perform their talents, whichever they might be. On this night, poets, singers, artists, and performers all gathered to share their art. 

The event took place at Cafe de Zolder and from 8 pm to 12 am the audience was at all times accompanied by art, music, and womanhood. The night started with poetry and performance, as amazing deep worlds resonated in the venue. The audience was listening with great attention and decided to sit down to immerse themselves in the experience even more. 

We got to hear amazing, inspiring, and original poems that celebrated but also narrated the struggles of womanhood. The songs shared had the same impact. One that stood out to me the most was “Canción Sin Miedo” performed by Ayanti Acosta. This song describes the horrors endured by Mexican women. In Mexico, around eleven women are killed daily, therefore it comes as no surprise that this song has a lot to say.

Ayanti Acosta performing at “Art by Women” (Photo by Emiliano Del Valle)

Music, beautiful voices, and instruments played throughout the rest of the night, captivating the audience who listened attentively and occasionally joined in by singing along.  

Zolder’s interior was decorated with pictures and art also created by women.  Additionally, outside at the terrace, the awareness committee installed a small art gallery. Amazing pictures, paintings, and tapestries were displayed. This gave the night a great balance, as even if one felt tired and thus needed fresh air, one would still be accompanied by art done by women.

Apart from being a very positive initiative, “Art by Women” was also carried out incredibly successfully. Performances happened continuously and the place was absolutely packed throughout, with people enjoying the music and poetry at all times. Overall, the night had a very positive atmosphere, where the artists and the public truly came together. The audience encouraged the artists during the performances and, in return, they were inspired by their work. It was a night where women were celebrating and celebrated.

Coming from Mexico, for the last 4 years I had been used to an International Women’s Day where the main focus was to fight and remember the injustices and violence that women in the country face. It’s a powerful and important activity, however, this year Amnesty International gave me and many others the opportunity to also celebrate women in a positive light. This year I got to remember everything good and beautiful about womanhood, which is something very valuable and equally important. I am glad I went and I’m hopeful we get to participate in more activities like this one in the future.  

If you are interested in getting a glimpse of the art shared during this event, please visit our poetry section for a poem titled “Conversations to my pillowcase” by Alla Khuseyn.