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This Massive Land Art Portrait Fights for Women's Rights in Central America

The face of an anonymous human right's activist is the largest ever created on Dutch soil.

In support of women's rights in Central America, artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada has created the largest portrait ever installed on Dutch soil. Spanning the length of two football fields, and located in Amsterdam, the picture was produced with the help of over 80 volunteers. The face, of an anonymous Central American activist, was made from sand and soil and will stay up as long as the elements allow.

Commissioned by the feminist foundation Mama Cash, the piece helped launch the campaign “Vogelvrije Vrouwen: Defend Women Who Defend Human Rights," a response to escalating violence against human rights activists in Mexico and Central America. In Dutch, 'Vogelvrije' means 'free as a bird' but, "also has the connotation of a person who is outside the boundaries of the legal system, someone who is not protected by the law." 'Vrouwen' means 'women.'

The campaign runs through 2013 and will provide the Dutch ways to put pressure on their government and Central American governments to make the defense of women human rights activists a priority. In the region violence against those working to protect basic human rights in the area have escalated in the last decade. According to Mama Cash's website:

The concern about the violence against women who are defending human rights comes from a chilling pattern. The attacks against women who defend human rights take the form of rape and other physical violence, threats against the defender, threats against her family, her home, theft of personal belongings and smear campaign to undermine her profession. A threat against a woman who defends human rights is more likely to be a threat to rape or kill her or her children. And in a region where close to 50 percent of all women have been victims of physical violence, a threat is rarely seen as empty.


The artist Rodriguez-Gerada, is known for his political—and large scale—portraits, that aim to raise awareness around various social issues. Here's hoping this beautiful, and ambitious portrait will lead to increased attention and help for women affected by this ongoing threat.


Photos courtesy of Vogelvrije Vrouwen

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