Despite weather fluctuations, members of the Witness Project could not be deterred from executing their mission of raising awareness on the issue of violence against women and children on the seawalls yesterday. The stretch between Conversation Tree and Sheriff Street was subjected to intense cleaning and a new paint job.
The group of 17 volunteers hopes to draw citizens’ attention to the message by stenciling the eyes of children along with an inspirational quote by JR—“What we see changes us”—on the seawalls.
The quote works as the group’s motto and influences the type of projects it conducts.
Citizens may remember the Witness Project’s previous initiative three years ago, whereby posters of average Guyanese were erected on and around popular locations such as the US Embassy, National Library and Seawall.
This project was done with the same objective; to raise awareness on domestic abuse.
In that initiative, the Witness Project sought to convey that abuse affects all types of people, making a clear statement that anyone can be a victim or a witness.
Since then the Project has consistently redeveloped posters around Georgetown, produced a short film called “Rebecca’s Story” and is currently working on Public Service Announcements (PSAs). The latter two addressing domestic and street violence respectively.
Kaieteur News understands that ‘Rebecca’s Story’ which has seen screening around Georgetown, is sparking conversation on an issue that people have been silent about.
Rainy Worzella, project coordinator from New York believes that “art saves lives” and that with exposure to these initiatives they will be able to influence the actions of ordinary Guyanese thus putting an end to the cycle of violence in the country.
Worzella is part of the New York team comprised of artists with different backgrounds in graphic designing, filmmaking and painting. She noted that the biggest difficulties faced by the Witness Project are “logistics” and coordination, between the local and the New York team due to geographic constraints.
However, she noted that the Guyanese team, which came up with the idea of stenciling the seawalls, is becoming more self-sufficient and is growing in its capacity to organize projects.
Kaieteur News understands that the Guyanese branch of the group consists of members ranging from ages 13 to 25.
Rosheni Takechandra, the local coordinator told this publication that she observed that the younger members have shown immense passion and growth throughout the years of their operations.
Takechandra explained, “They did the PSAs without professional help.”
With this new seawall project, the group hopes that the stenciled eyes along the walls will impact passersby on a personal level. By having the eyes painted on, Ms Takechandra says, their initiative will have a lasting effect in the minds of the public.
She said she wants the people to see that “our children are watching, and you must lead by example to put an end to domestic abuse”.
The group will be continuing their work throughout the week and welcomes volunteers.
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