BY DARLA MARTIN TUCKER, La Sierra University
With additional reporting by Adventist Review staff
In the first week of May, shippers showed up at an Adventist
professor’s home in California, wrapped up a book she created in 1998, and
headed for the World Bank in Washington D.C.
That mixed art media book, "Ode to Women," is on
display at an exhibit that opened at the World Bank’s hulking headquarters on
May 22 and explores how violence affects the lives of women and girls around
The creator of the book of 28 paintings is Beatriz
Mejia-Krumbein, chairwoman of the art department at La Sierra University, the
Seventh-day Adventist institution in Riverside, California.
“This book is about women’s worth, that after enduring a
silenced existence, their voices are echoed in all means of everyday life,”
said Mejia-Krumbein, who joined World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and several
of the other 30 featured artists at the opening of the exhibit.
“The selection of this book is very meaningful to me,” she
said. “This book addresses many issues and circumstances in women’s daily lives
that cannot be addressed in a single painting.”
The exhibit is titled "1 in 3" in a nod to
new research from the World Health Organization that 35 percent of women around
the world will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her
lifetime, usually by their husbands or partners, said the World Bank, a United
Nations lender that works with governments in developing countries to end
“All [the artworks] help break the silence that often
surrounds violence against women, encouraging survivors to stand up and speak
out,” the bank said in a statement.
Mejia-Krumbein, a native of Colombia, South America, was
selected in April to exhibit her 38-inch-by-55-inch book, whose dark and
intriguing figures and images depict womanhood and provide a daily journal of a
woman’s life. She said the paintings present a woman’s strength, love, hope and
endurance in the face of issues that strive to silence and enslave her.
Her work was referred to World Bank exhibit curators by a long-time
friend, artist and architect, Felix Angel, former cultural center director of
the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington D.C.
“Our friendship goes far to the time when as young students
we were classmates in painting classes at the Art Institute in Medellin,
Colombia,” Mejia-Krumbein said. “We always have kept in touch and shared our
art and art related activities.”
The “1 in 3” exhibit includes visual and performing arts,
films and videos by artists representing 22 countries, along with a program of
seminars featuring leading experts and practitioners on gender issues. It will
run through July 18.