A group of young women in Ballarat are working to empower others by promoting gender equality, respectful relationships, diversity and inclusion through art.
The Lead Yourself Lead Others (LYLO) group at the Centre for Multicultural Youth is hosting an art exhibition at Barkly Square this month.
The exhibition showcases more than 60 works of art by established and emerging artists, responding to the theme of gender equality and inclusion.
Culturally and linguistically diverse young women do face many challenges, which was why this project was so important.Khadja Gbla, Our Watch ambassador
LYLO member Lauren Riddel said the group decided to host an art exhibition after learning about gender equality and agreeing they had a desire to educate others.
"You can say so much but sometimes words don't always cover a topic, so art is a good way to get a message across," she said.
"Hearing the stories people told about their artwork was incredible. Both men and women put artwork forward.
"I think it is an important message to send looking at gender stereotypes and it is really beautiful to have this open space to do so."
LYLO member Nyagak Yang contributed her own works of art to the exhibition.
"The work I have created is about self love and standards, but I haven't explained the artwork," she said.
"I like the people to come in and see it in their own way."
More than 150 people attended the exhibition launch on Friday night.
Guest speaker Khadja Gbla, who is an ambassador for Our Watch, said the number of submissions and community interest showed it was the right time to have conversations about gender equality and family violence.
"Culturally and linguistically diverse young women do face many challenges, which was why this project was so important," she said.
"It is important we invest in them and provide safe spaces for them to talk about issues like gender equality, domestic violence, inter-sexuality and the challenges they face, but to also empower them to be the solution makers.
"We need to understand domestic and family violence happens in every community and we need unity, solidarity and to engage different parts of our community to create change."
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Ms Gbla said it was beautiful to see how the young women in the LYLO group had become aware of the issues surrounding gender equality and family violence.
She said they were now confident and able to articulate the challenges they face, but were also able to come up with solutions to their own challenges.
The art exhibition will run until February 27 from 9am to 5pm Barkly Square. Visitors can also see the exhibition during the Barkly Square Twilight Market from 5pm to 8pm on February 21.
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