Cover Your Tracks

December 3, 2015

By: Saria

The Exhibition Project

By Nia Fekri

The ‘Cut: Artist against FGM’ project was the highlight of last year’s work for me because of its nature as an inclusive community event. As the visitors came in, I was so happy to see young people, with their parents and friends sitting side by side with community leaders, activists and health professionals.

Of course, there’s still a long way to go when thinking about how inclusive our work at Oxford Against Cutting (OAC) can be, but this project proved to me that we were on the right track. Especially as a sixth former, I felt that the art and drama activities were a very effective way to involve the younger student in my school which was my number one concern.

Personally, I engaged with this project through leading an art workshop with the Year 7’s Art Club at my school. We began by explaining FGM and abuse. Then the students were asked to make paper representations of themselves celebrating their own body and personality whilst responding to these three points.

  • No one has the right to harm my body 
  • I have the right to get information about my body 
  • Where can I go to talk about my body and find out about it 

During this activity I was surprised by the conversations that occurred on all the tables in the class as the students were making their art works. Such simple prompting had led these young people to discuss a variety of issues including consent, sexuality, body image, and helplines and so on. I had not expected such a level engagement from the student at all.

I left the workshop feeling proud of all the questions asked and opinions shared. And most importantly, proud of my school and community because I felt closer to them.

This small workshop within the grand scheme of the ‘Cut: Artists against FGM’ project showed me that…

learning about FGM not only helps spread awareness and offer help to those who need it, but it also strengthens the community and opens up a platform for young people to show their support for one another.

Nia Fekri is a young person, activist and artist; who is a trustee at Oxford Against Cutting

To see some of a booklet of the art work produced by young people on the day please click here

Sing. Shout. Smile. Laugh. Live. #EndFGM

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