‘Exposure’ increases the visibility of WLW. In Hanoi, CSAGA organised an art exhibition called ‘Exposure’ about women-loving women (WLW).
Around 900 people visited the exhibition itself, and more than 2000 people saw it online. The media also covered it with 30 newspapers items and broadcast on TV. This great event helped to spread awareness of WLW and to break down negative stereotypes.
In February 2017, five provinces in Vietnam jointly organised an art exhibition called ‘Exposure’ in Hanoi about women-loving women (WLW). Around 9000 people visited the exhibition itself, and more than 2000 people saw it online. The media also covered the exhibition with items published in 30 newspapers and broadcast on TV. This great event helped to spread awareness of WLW and to break down negative stereotypes.
The exhibition was organised to promote the visibility of WLW and to change how both the media and the general public think about them. The organisers also created an online photo book. After having worked together for some time, they felt confident enough to scale up the project.
How did they do that? The organisation began collaborating with a visual artist from the Vietnam University of Fine Arts in Hanoi who has an extensive network in the art world. This person was able to convince the university to exhibit the artworks, and so they did. The “Exposure” exhibition was open for nine days, receiving 9000 visitors, 1000 of whom were WLW. Visitors could write down their experiences in a guestbook as well as view the exhibition online (http://nuyeunu.vn/ )
For example, one visitor wrote the following:
“I came here with a friend, a member of the LGBT community. I am very close with her and know that her love – along with that of others in the community – is not easy. She used to suffer a lot because her girlfriend is not brave or determined enough. I advised her to marry a boy instead and live a normal life like me. But after watching the photos in this exhibition, I have changed my mind. I think everyone deserves to – and ought to – live the life they choose. It brings so much happiness to live according to your true feelings!”
The exhibition received a lot of media attention, with 30 positive newspaper articles as well as various TV broadcasts. This exposure also helped increase the number of people who were aware of both the exhibition and the WLW community. The WLW themselves also got more allies from the University of Fine Arts. A lot of students volunteered to help with setting up the exhibition, and many students and professors visited it multiple times to show their respect for the artwork. One of the organisers wrote:
“We believe this activity has strongly affected the awareness of young artists and directed them to have a more in-depth understanding of issues that exist in modern Vietnamese society. At the same time, it will also reduce the number of future art works that would otherwise transfer the message of discrimination and prejudice towards the LGBT community in general.”
The organisers were very happy with the unexpectedly high number of visitors as well as with the support from the university, the media and the general public. They believe the exhibition had a positive impact on the representation of WLW and of the LGBT community as a whole.
Story of change #60. This Story of change is an illustration of the PRIDE program.