Youths champion women’s rights

Student Teng (left) working on his graffiti art for the International Women’s Day 2016 celebrations held at the Graffiti Park in the Penang City Park. (Above) Han Chiang College students posing with cardboard posters advocating women’s rights and gender equality.Photos: LIM BENG TATT/The Star

STOP cat calling! Women’s rights, Human rights and Women are the real architects of society — these were among the messages written on the walls at the Graffiti Park of the Penang City Park to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016.

Ten big wall panels were painted to illustrate the various aspects of women and to urge for gender equality by some 25 students from Han Chiang College’s School of Applied Creative Arts and Design in Penang.

Teng Zheng Yuen, 19, who did the illustration on his own, said he wanted a minimalist approach to the topic.

“We were briefed a few weeks ago about Women’s Day and their rights.

“I chose to have the words ‘Women’s rights’ in my graffiti as I believe women should have the same power and opportunity as their male counterparts,” he said as he put the finishing touches on his piece recently.

Meanwhile, three of his coursemates chose to call out men who tease women in their ‘Stop Cat Calling’ piece which also featured a women with cat ears.

Eliza Wong,19, said they chose the theme for obvious reasons.

“Every girl has experiences of being ‘cat called’ in their lives. I am from a girls’ school and have experienced it the moment I walked out of the school compound.

“It is something that needs to stop as it is very disrespectful to women,” she said.

The event supported by the Penang government was organised by Penang Island City Council and Han Chiang College.

College vice-principal Dr Beh Kok Hooi said the aim of the programme was to create a platform for the students to express their creativity on “hard hitting” subjects.

Council Community Service Department director Rashidah Jalaludin said this was not the first time they had collaborated with the college.

“We collaborated the last time to celebrate Penang, and now it is to celebrate women and create awareness on women’s rights.

“This park is frequented by people daily and it is a good way to send out messages through art,” she said, adding the students were briefed by Penang Women’s Develop-ment Corporation on the topic of women’s rights a few weeks ago to get the feel of Women’s Day.

State Youth, Sports, Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Chong Eng, who opened the event, said in her speech that art was an agent to spread change especially street art which had become a medium used to spread messages on social matters.

“This project has given the students a platform to not only create beautiful art, but also convey a message on gender inequality.”

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