Human Rights Institute - Past Exhibitions


Diane Kahlo’s Las Desaparecidas de Ciudad Juárez on Exhibit at the Human Rights Institute Gallery at Kean University

UNION, N.J. – Hundreds of young women have been raped and murdered in Juárez, Mexico, since 1993, without criminal investigation or punishment. Today through January 15, 2015, the Human Rights Institute Gallery at Kean University sheds light on this injustice with an exhibition of Diane Kahlo’s Las Desaparecidas de Ciudad Juárez: A Homage to the Missing and Murdered Girls of Juárez, Mexico.

Artist Kahlo will share her vision for the exhibit at a reception on October 29, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the gallery, located next to Kean’s Nancy Thompson Library on Kean’s Union campus.

“Las Desaparecidas de Ciudad Juárez features portraits painted from more than 150 photographs of missing and murdered girls that Kahlo has gathered over the years,” said Neil Tetkowski, Director of Kean University Galleries. “Through this work, Kahlo keeps the memory of these young women alive and the worldwide injustices against females at the forefront of our minds as a call to action—initiatives aligned with the mission of the Human Rights Institute at Kean University.”

In the last 15 years, Kahlo’s work has focused on exploitation and violence against women, and populations disempowered by sexism, racism, xenophobia and poverty. Most recently, she has concentrated on topics addressing the U.S.—Mexican border, including immigration, worker rights and gender violence. The last five years she has focused on the ‘feminicide’ in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

“The memorial wall pays homage to the victims of a different kind of war, feminicide–the homicide against women simply because they are women. Women and girls continue to be abused, raped, murdered, and kidnapped to be sold into sex and slave trafficking at an alarming rate,” said Kahlo, noting that she approaches her work from the perspective of a woman, artist and mother. “Although this project is addressing a specific geographic location, it is also meant to provoke a conversation about the crimes against women internationally."

Inspired by the work of award-winning filmmaker Lourdes Portillo, Las Desaparecidas de Ciudad Juárez also features her short film, Chimes for Change. The Human Rights Institute and Women’s Studies Program are also co-sponsoring a free screening of Portillo’s Señorita Extraviada (Missing Young Women) on Thursday, October 16, at 6 p.m. in Kean’s University Center Little Theatre.

Diane Kahlo lived in El Paso, Texas, as a young child, and spent most of her teen years in southern California, before her family moved to Berea, Kentucky. She earned her degree in art from Eastern Kentucky University in 1973. During those years, her work focused on worker’s rights and anti-war politics.

Both the exhibition and film screening are free and open to the public.

Gallery Hours are:

Monday: 11:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday: 1:00pm - 6:00pm

Wednesday: 11:00am - 6:00pm

Thursday: 11:00am - 6:00pm

Friday: 11:00am - 4:00pm

This body of work has been exhibited in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, California, and now at Kean University in New Jersey. Generous grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women have made Las Desaparecidas de Ciudad Juárez possible.