Off The Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art

23 October -12 December 2009

University Art Gallery, Mandeville Center, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA‎, USA [map]

Amnesty International, Laylah Ali, Maimuna Feroze-Nana, Mona Hatoum, Icelandic Love Corporation, Yoko Inoue, International Rescue Committee, Jung JungYeob, Amal Kenawy, Lisa Bjørne Linnert, Hung Liu, Gabriela Morawetz, Miri Nishri, Yoko Ono, Cecilia Paredes, Susan Plum, Cima Rahmankhah, Joyce J. Scott, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Masami Teroka, Hank Willis Thomas

For the new exhibition season the University Art Gallery, UC San Diego presents an international exhibition entitled Off The Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art. The exhibition brings together artists from around the world to explore the global ramifications of gender-based violence. The exhibition, curated by Randy Jayne Rosenberg executive director of Art Works For Change, features twenty-one artists from nineteen countries. “Throughout the world, women and girls are victims of countless and senseless acts of violence. The range of gender-based violence is devastating, occurring, quite literally, from womb to tomb,” explains Randy Jayne Rosenberg. “The stories that underlie these artworks return us imaginatively to the event of violation and allow it to affect us.” Premised on the visionary potential in art, the exhibition avoids tabloid and sensational imagery. The invited artists were asked, “To help us create new representations through their artworks and, in doing so, help us feel and understand the essence of the problem of violence against women,” says Rosenberg.

The exhibition hopes to help create a new conversation on this important topic. The exhibition explores multiple aspects of violence against women and girls organized within several thematic categories: Violence and the Individual; Violence and the Family; Violence and the Community; Violence and Culture; Violence and Politics. The organizers hope the audience leaves the exhibition with a better understanding of the roots of abuse, a feeling of empathy, and an awareness of choice in their actions and beliefs. These problems, though widespread, are often invisible, says Rosenberg. “When we encounter violence against women, we often overlook the facts and experience a sort of blindness. We choose not to see the devastation of domestic violence, calling it ‘a family affair’. Honor-killings of women in faraway regions of the world become nothing more than a ‘cultural difference’. We find it hard to believe that sex trafficking and exploitation occur in our cities, close to home. The rape and torture of women during armed conflict is the inevitable ‘messiness of war’. As such, the political and systemic sources of violence are often underestimated or overlooked.”

The University Art Gallery is partnering with 5 Women Who Care, Amnesty International, Casa Cornelia Law Center, Center for Community Solutions San Diego, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, End Violence Against Women International, License to Freedom, Survivors of Torture, The Voices and Faces Project, United 4 Iran and Women’s Resource Center as well as departments and programs on campus in order to create an extensive calendar of programming. Please check the Talks and Events section of the website for upcoming events.


Art Works for Change produces contemporary art exhibitions to address social and environmental. It uses the power of art as a vehicle to promote dialogue and awareness, and to inspire action and thought. Art Works for Change operates under the fiscal umbrella of the Tides Center, a tax-exempt organization.


5 Women Who Care is a group of women who came together to help make a difference and bring awareness to women’s and children’s issues globally. Operating out of the San Diego area, these 5 Women collaborate with like minded organizations for the empowerment and justice of women and children worldwide.

In addition to supporting the Off The Beaten Path Project, the organization recently organized the Day of Solidarity Rally in Balboa Park; supports the California arm of the Water for Sudan, and the Voices and Faces project, Volume 1. Long term projects include women and Afghanistan, passage of Jenny’s Law, and support of local domestic abuse shelters that have lost funding.
The gallery will be closed November 11 in observance of Veterans Day and November 26 for Thanksgiving.

Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women, and Art

In some communities, where direct intervention is culturally impossible, women respond to severe domestic violence by assembling outside of the household in question and bang out an alarm on pots and pans. This informs the man that the spirit he attempts to break belongs to many, not one.

Over the years as a curator for international traveling shows, I have amassed a network of visionary artists from around the world, both accomplished and up-and-coming.

My curatorial work focuses on content-driven exhibitions, exploring the interaction between people and art to engender a greater awareness of social, moral, spiritual and environmental issues.

Each of the artists in “Off the Beaten Path” brings a unique set of ideas and experiences about gender-based violence, tapping not just their artistic talent but also their artistic process to engage the audience. From this experience, it became clear that art can have more than a visual appeal —it can have context and consciousness, too.

Luz y Solidaridad (Light and Solidarity) by Susan Plum (2006)

One such artist was Susan Plum. Susan’s project, Luz y Solidaridad (“Light and Solidarity”), created for a show I curated in 2005 (photo of brooms, above) , addressed the plight of the Women of Juarez, Mexico, and evolved out of her love of her native Mexico and her interest in social activism, and art as a vehicle for transformation. Susan wrote me, stating, “While creating Luz y Solidaridad, I knew that this was only one seed being planted for a much greater problem globally of violence toward women. It has been a dream of mine for many years to participate with others in bringing some cohesive awareness to this global problem.”

Thus began the initial stirrings of a grassroots project, “Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art,” with the intent of utilizing art as a catalyst to unite people in action and thought, and to empower individuals, communities, and leaders to address the issue of violence against women.

Randy Jayne Rosenberg, Curator
Oakland, California

Women and girls around the world are victims of countless and senseless acts of violence. In a great many of these instances, they are victims simply because they are female. The range of gender-based acts of violence is devastating, occurring, quite literally, from womb to tomb. Violence against women and girls occurs in every segment of society — regardless of class, ethnicity, culture, country, or whether the country is at peace or war.

How do we get off the “Beaten Path?” How do we create a world where all people are secure in times of peace and conflict?

How can we advance global agendas that promote gender equity and women’s empowerment strategies?

How can we bring about an awareness that delivers prevention, protection, and assistance for women against gender-based violence and sexual exploitation?

In “Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art,” 25 accomplished artists from around the world are being asked to share their answers and create new stories through their artwork. These artists are not looking to create a sensational, tabloid-driven exhibition of violent images. Rather, the exhibition is meant to create awareness, educate, inspire, and offer new stories for a new morality and a new ethic, and provide a portal for a new consciousness. Artists are often described as prophetic, visionaries, and poetic shapers of the world – one step ahead of the rest of humanity. In this exhibition, we ask the participating artists to find a new vocabulary to articulate this consciousness and to share new visions and shed light on new ways to interact. The geographically diverse artists selected were chosen for their capacity to hold an expansive vision, create content-driven artwork, achieve artistic excellence, and their recognition within the international art community.


Marina Abramovic, Yugoslavia
Jane Alexander, South Africa
Laylah Ali, USA
Ghada Amer, Egypt
Lise Byjorne, Norway
Maria Campos-Pons, Cuba
Luciana Fina, Portugal
Mona Hatoum, Lebanon
Icelandic Love Corporation, Iceland
Yoko Inoue, Japan
Amai Kenawy, Egypt
Hung Liu, China
Gabriela Morawetz, Poland
Miri Nishri, Israel
Lucy Orta
Yoko Ono, Japan
Cecilia Paredes, Peru
Susan Plum, Mexico
Joyce J Scott, USA
Eve Sussman, USA
Masami Teraoka, Japan
Miwa Yanagi, Japan

Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art operates as a project of the Tides Center.
Since 1976, Tides has worked with individuals and institutions to implement programs that accelerate positive social change.

Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art

Twenty-three well-respected artists from 17 countries create new stories through their artwork addressing gender-based violence globally.

These artworks, created in a variety of media, are intended to educate, inspire, and offer stories for a new morality, a new ethic, and a new consciousness.

Click here to download the exhibition prospectus (PDF).

Hours and Directions

Tuesday-Saturday 11-5pm

The University Art Gallery is located in the Mandeville Center. For a more detailed map please click here.

Visitors can park in Lot 208 which is located off Muir College Drive. Vending machines for daily parking permits are situated at the entrance. Please park in allocated parking spaces. Saturday and Sunday parking is free unless otherwise indicated.