The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County is commemorating Women’s History Month with a new photography exhibit by renowned photojournalist Ana Elisa Fuentes.
“Women’s Activism and Empowerment: A Global Perspective” was created to confront the issue of women’s rights through a global perspective. It features photographs of women from various cultures, faiths and generations.
“This exhibit highlights the ongoing strength in women,” Beth Lilach, senior director of Education and Community Affairs, said. “It forces people to confront the fact that women’s rights are human rights.”
Fuentes captured the images while working as both a photojournalist and a human rights activist. Some of the pictures show refugees from Haiti, while others show Buddhist nuns secretly practicing their religion in Tibet.
Also included in some photos are also 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winners Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman.
Because of Fuentes’ human rights activism, she has been able to bring to light different inequalities that she has come across in her travels. She has her work permanently displayed in many prominent places, including the United Nations and the personal residence of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.
The photo of the Dalai Lama, however, was not allowed to be part of her UN exhibit because of China’s political pressure.
“It just shows the piece of this ugly puzzle that these women are facing every day,” Fuentes said of the Tibetan nuns that could face torture and imprisonment if they’re caught with photos of the Dalia Lama.
Despite the fact that her work has been shown in very high-profile places, Fuentes said that she was shocked and flattered when the center contacted her about the exhibit.
“To be honored by the Holocaust Center, I’m speechless with gratitude,” she said. “The UN is something different, a bigger body. This exhibit really has more meaning, because this is a recognition by the community.”
Fuentes dedicated the exhibit to her mother, and a photo of her greets museumgoers as they enter the small room of powerful photographs.
The exhibit will run until April 11. A special reception with Fuentes will be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the center in Glen Cove.