Under-represented Women and Girls Get an Artistic Hand Up by Native American Artist

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WCA confirms artist, Geri Montano will speak about the US human sex trafficking and prostitution crisis at the September 8th Honoring Women's Rights conference at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA. Montano uses her artwork to help raise awareness of the vulnerabilities of under-represented and under-privileged women. In particular, she feels a moral responsibility, as a Native American woman, to investigate and expose how Native American women problems are compounded by exclusion from the Violence Against Women Act.

Geri Montano, a contemporary artist

Geri Montano, contemporary artist of Native American heritage

Trauma is compounded, rather than reconciled, generation after generation. As a result, Native American girls and women are left exceptionally vulnerable to predatory traffickers.

On September 8, at National Steinbeck Center’s Honoring Women’s Rights conference, invited speaker Geri Montano, discusses her viewpoint on sexual violence as a feminist Native American artist. Montano speaks of her most recent art installation, Traded Moons, as "exposing what many would rather not see—the consequences of colonization: poverty, lack of employment opportunities, drug and alcohol addiction, racism, isolation on rural reservations, lack of health care, and epidemic sexual violence."
"These very real experiences, along with the U.S. government continual breaking promises, which devalue first nations people and contribute to low self-esteem. Trauma is compounded, rather than reconciled, generation after generation. As a result, Native American girls and women are left exceptionally vulnerable to predatory traffickers.”
Montano volunteers at San Francisco women’s shelters by giving including them in her Traded Moons art project. Art therapy is a strong, safe way to express feelings. She says, “I’m not a trained art therapist, but it just made sense and the women really like it. I wish I could spend more time with them, but their lives are so erratic when they come to the shelter, I often only get one art session with each woman.” Still, their voices will not go unheard – she plans to publicly exhibit their pieces.
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Tickets on sale until August 22, through http://www.honoringwomensrights.org/conference-program.
http://www.nationalwca.org; Women’s Caucus for Art creates community through art, education, and social activism.
http://www.steinbeck.org; National Steinbeck Center inspires people to make a positive difference in our world, 1 Main Street, Salinas, Monterey County, CA

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