Defending the Environmental Future
Rose Muthoni Kibara
© Rose Muthoni Kibara. Courtesy of the artist.
This artwork, developed and featured in the report Defending the Future: Gender, Conflict and Environmental Peace, forms an essential part of the project’s methodology. The project was conducted during 2019 and 2020 by the London School of Economics Centre for Women Peace and Security, and two NGO/activist organizations: Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPs) and the Women’s International Peace Centre (WIPC). It involved interviews and focus group meetings with 126 participants.
The WIPC, a feminist organization based in Uganda, facilitated small group discussions in two districts—Yumbe and Adjumani. These discussions involved 90 women and girls in rural communities and refugee settings. Within the meetings, there were specific gatherings for young women and women with disabilities. The discussions were conducted in Madi, Lubgara, Aringa, Arabic, and English. Following the launch of the report on February 1, 2021, the project aims to return to these sites to inform the participants of the report's findings. In order to capture the issues discussed, the project needed an artist from the outset. Drawings that captured the report's findings have been made into a poster to help generate feedback on the themes that emerged.
This piece was the cover image of the report. It is an illustration of an African woman who is standing up for Mother Nature. Her mouth is a germinating seed that connotes change/growth (empowerment). Her eyes and eyebrows are leaves from a growing plant whose roots form her nose (building environmental peace). The small blue, brown, and green pattern on her face represent aspects of climate change—blue is water, green is fertile land, and light brown is dry land. The background forms a mixed landscape of dry and fertile land (climate change).
This piece represents the fifth theme of the report (feminist solutions/women’s solutions for the environment). It is an illustration of the back of an African woman, implying that she is moving forward (due to feminist solutions). Her hair is styled as bantu knots which are shaped like trees (plant trees). Her earrings are search icons (intersectional analysis). Her necklace is a gavel (justice). These elements represent feminist solutions to climate change. The raised hands at the bottom of the image show that women are cheering on the feminist fight against climate change.
This piece represents the second theme of the report (women, peace and security, and environmental peace building). It shows a woman rebuilding her home after it was destroyed by floods due to climate change. The home completes the peace symbol, which is beautifully patterned to symbolize the woman’s journey and her strength. At the bottom of the image, the raised hands against a mountainous backdrop/landscape suggest that women are cheering on the fight against climate change.
I am truly grateful to the project and the funders of the project for allowing me to tell their story.