#TwitterArtExhibit: Changing the World Through Art

Through Art We Can Change the World. -David Sandum

Twitter Art Exhibit was created by artist and founder David Sandum to help charities and nonprofits with postcard-sized, handmade original artwork. Every participant, from artist to organizer, is involved on a voluntary, unpaid basis. The goal is to share collective talents for a good cause and 100% of proceeds go to charity.

The exhibit for 2015, Twitter Art Exhibit: Moss is the fifth installment of an open international exhibition presenting art donated by hundreds of participating artists from around the globe. Artists from as many as 35 countries have participated in a single event. The exhibit will be curated by David Sandum. This year’s show will run March 12-26, 2015 in Moss, Norway to benefit Home-Start Moss (a nonprofit organization helping families in need. Home-Start believes that every child deserves the best start in life.)

Social Media plays a major role in Twitter Art Exhibit’s ability to connect artists and those interested in the collaboration of blending charity and art. Past exhibits helped to support an abused women’s shelter, raise funds for an organization mentoring underprivileged youth in preparation for careers in the visual arts, provide scholarships for special needs dancers, and to purchase new children’s books for a struggling library.

Follow or Connect Online:

Twitter Art Exhibit Website

Follow on Twitter @twitrartexhibit

Use Hashtag: #twitterartexhibit

Follow on Facebook

Twitter Art Exhibit Organizing Board:
David Sandum, @DavidSandum
Nat George, @natgeorgela
Robin Maria Pedrero, @robinpedrero

Home-Start Moss Website


Twitter Art Exhibit 2015: Postcard Artwork Inspires Hope

Blog - Twtter Art Exhibit (Black)

It’s that time of year when artist, writer and visionary, David Sandum, Founder of Twitter Art Exhibit calls for artists to collaborate across boundaries and borders for a good cause. This is the fifth year for hundreds of artists (both professional and amateur) to gift their own unique little picture to benefit the bigger picture. Submissions of original handmade postcard-sized art literally “fly in” from all around the world to raise funds for a worthy cause.

This year’s event held March 5-26, will benefit children and families through the Home-Start Moss organization in Moss, Norway, and will take place there. All of the artists and those who facilitate the event work on a volunteer basis. Cards are sold at the exhibit for $35 each with 100% of the funds going directly to the beneficiary.

My submission this year is called, “Hope Lives“. In a world with so many uncertainties and concerns, I wanted my little piece of inspiration to be a reminder that hope is alive. When it comes to keeping children safe and families healthy, it’s important to come together as a community to help build strong foundations for them where we can. We are always better together! Though we may not always feel it, we are constantly reminded through each breath we take, every new dawning of the sun, fresh blooms, bird songs and the transformation of the caterpillar into the butterfly, that the possibility of newness and rebirth is a constant. That there is hope.

Connect & Follow:

Website: www.twitterartexhibit.org
Twitter: @twitrartexhibit
Facebook: /twitterartexhibit

Related Reading:

#TwitterArtExhibit 2015

Twitter Art Exhibit 2014: Creating Art for Good

Burton Artist Alistair Kennedy to Join International Twitter Art Exhibit for Home-Start Families

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”


Women and Oppression: Advocating for Women Through Creativity

Throughout history and around the world, women have suffered from many forms of oppression.  Whether by domination or through violence–they have been de-humanized, marginalized, controlled, ignored, hurt, forgotten and silenced.

While others have been a different kind of victim–locked inside their own prisons of addiction, disease, illness and self-hatred, or incapacitated by other internal struggles. All are oppressive realities that keep women from living their lives to the fullest–held back, pressed down and in bondage.

  “What should move us to action is human dignity: the inalienable dignity of the oppressed, but also the dignity of each of us.  We lose dignity if we tolerate the intolerable” —Dominique de Menil 

Henry Ellis said, “Every artist writes his own autobiography”. When we create art for the cause of others, it could also be said that, “Every advocacy artist writes (or, paints, sculpts, weaves, documents, captures, performs) another’s biography.

Truth in Art

Art, when used as a creative vehicle for advocacy, allows us to create unique representations of the truth, or reality. Through music, literature, film, and various art forms, we have the distinct ability to present and propagate ideas and provoke thought.

“Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth” –John Ruskin

Framing Reality – Stimulating Truth

When our senses are not alive, they cannot help us interpret and respond appropriately to the world around us. Art can play a vital role in breathing life into dull senses. It can help put a framework around reality, or stimulate us so we can grasp some critical piece of truth – this holds true for both the women who are victims of oppression and those affected by the advocate’s art. 

“If you do not have eyes, let me show you another way of seeing

If you do not have ears, let me teach you a new language so you can hear

If you do not have a voice, let me be your voice so you can speak and be heard

If your mind is tangled, let me express in a new way that unlocks the eyes of your spirit

If your heart is darkened with sorrow, let me fill it with light

If your hope has faded, let me introduce you to others who have broken free”

–Let Me Be Your Voice, by April McCallum (for victims & advocacy artists)

 Advocating Through Creativity

 “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance” –Aristotle

When we advocate, we don’t just stop at our awareness of an issue or need.  We take it a step further to say, in essence, I will take your hand and I will go there with you.  Or, I will take your story and go there for you—and for those who might follow in your footsteps.

Create to use your imagination to create new ideas or develop something in an artistic context

Advocate to support or speak in favor of something or someone who acts or intercedes on behalf of another

“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist”. –Robert Schumann

Here’s to the advocates who seek to tell the truth and to the artists who represent, in their own beautiful, terrifying, significant way, the inward significance of the oppression of women.

Whether advocacy art makes us feel happy, sad, thoughtful, shocked, or otherwise moves us in some way—it has accomplished its purpose in leaving an imprint and making us feel.  When we feel, we awaken and become aware to some degree, of the reality of a situation.  If it also informs, inspires or motivates us to get involved, it has completed its journey by meeting with its ultimate objective–we have not only been moved, but moved to action.

April McCallum is also an illustrator and cartoonist and the creator of a group of advocacy art collections that speak to issues of Women’s Freedom from Oppression, Breast Cancer Awareness, Animal Rescue and Adoption.

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photo by Mary Brandt)



Breast Cancer: Mammograms & Early Detection


"Booby Trap" Mammogram by April McCallum

Women Like Their Breasts and They Don’t Want to Lose Them!

Not only do we want to keep our breasts, but we want to live a long and healthy life. The fact is: breast cancer kills. The best way to prevent breast cancer and potential death is early detection.

If you have not personally been touched by cancer, most likely you have had a sister, mother, aunt or friend who have. All cancer is devastating, but breast cancer is one that is so very personal to a woman. It is aggressive. It is powerful. It is oppressive.

About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Three main tests are used to screen the breasts for cancer:

Mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
Clinical Breast Exam. A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.
Breast Self-Exam. A breast self-exam is when you check your own breasts for lumps, changes in size or shape of the breast, or any other changes in the breasts or underarm.

According to Breast Cancer.org about 39,840 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer (though death rates have been decreasing since 1990).  There is some good news — In 2010, there were more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.

Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. If you are age 50 to 74 years, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years. If you are age 40–49 years, talk to your doctor about when and how often you should have a screening mammogram.

Screening for Breast Cancer –U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Natiional Cancer Institute – Breast Cancer Preventiion

Basic Information about Breast Cancer from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Cancer Society

So, go out there and get your breast exam and mammogram, and take a girlfriend along with you!  If there’s a woman in your life that hasn’t gone yet—a sister, wife, daughter, friend—challenge them to do the same.   Live well, live long.

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

All artwork by April McCallum. All Rights Reserved. To purchase artwork for publications or other purposes, contact April: april(at)aprilmccallumdesigns.com.  View more of her illustrations for Breast Cancer Awareness, or browse April’s Advocacy Art on Destiny’s Women to shop for more categories of her advocacy artwork on a variety of products for gifts or fundraising campaigns.

Sources: CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Breast Cancer.org, American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer.org


Photographs Tell the Story: Images of Human Trafficking

We have all heard the expression: A picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of human trafficking—the buying and selling of human beings for the sake of profit through forced labor, or the sex trade industry—it might be more fitting to say: A picture is worth a thousand tears. Welcome to her world.

Through the Eyes of a Camera Lens

Those who document the stories behind the stories–through the eyes of their camera lens–share other worlds with the rest of us, worlds that we would not have access to on our own. They are our eyes, ears and feet on the street in so many of the dark places that exploit women and children throughout India, Thailand, Italy and Hong Kong, and beyond.

They are visual artists, who through their photographs, tell stories—people like Kay Chernush who traveled on behalf of the U.S. State Department to document the lives of exploited girls (and boys) who are used as pawns in the illegal web of human trafficking. Make no mistake, human trafficking is playing out on a global stage, but her assignment was to tell the story through images captured on film in the areas where she traveled.

The photographs in this gallery were taken to accompany a U.S. State Department’s report on “Trafficking in Persons.” The special report serves as the primary diplomatic tool through which the U.S. Government encourages other countries to help fight forced labor, sexual exploitation, and modern-day slavery.

Sexual Exploitation

The majority of girls and women moved across borders are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Commonly, their families are lied to by the traffickers and told that they will help provide an education or legitimate opportunities to better the girl’s life and/or her families.

Many are held captive as sex slaves working in brothels and prostituted to men from all over the world. The girls/women may be forced to have sex with between 10-40 or more men a night. They face violence from beatings by pimps and customers, rape, and a myriad of diseases. Sadly, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug addiction, suicide and murder are common in the lives of these modern-day slaves.

Slave Labor

It is not uncommon to be forced to work 20 hour days, sleep on the floor and receive little food. Many of the victims are plucked from the poorest and most underdeveloped areas and sold. With no means of escape, and unable to speak the local language, the family is isolated and lives in terrible conditions.

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to enslave a person. Some traffickers use a bond, or debt, to keep a person trapped, and sometimes in bondage from one generation to the next.

Street kids, runaways, or children living in poverty are all easy targets for traffickers who force them into begging rings. Children are sometimes intentionally disfigured to attract more money from passersby. Victims of organized begging rings are often beaten or injured if they don’t bring in enough money, and are also vulnerable to sexual abuse.

At Risk, Rescued and Sheltered

The story is so often the same. A girl is told there is a job or educational opportunity awaiting her. Longing for a better life, she (or her family) puts her trust in those who have come to deceive. When she arrives at her destination, she discovers that she has been sold a bill of goods. She is forced into prostitution through coercion, threats against their families at home, voodoo rites (in some cases), and physical violence.

Organizations and shelters share a common goal: to help reintegrate these girls and women into society so that they can lead productive lives. They do that by providing practical assistance and services such as counseling, legal and psychological support, food, basic job training, and some cases, spiritual counseling.

“Modern slavery – be it bonded labor, involuntary servitude, or sexual slavery – is a crime and cannot be tolerated in any culture, community, or country … [It] is an affront to our values and our commitment to human rights.”

–Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State

This gallery was prepared by the Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and managed by the Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Electronic 
Information, U.S. Department of State. Click here to view the gallery. Once you have seen with your own eyes, you can now share in the cause.

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos by Kay Chernush who was commissioned by the U.S. State Department for the G/TIP Special Report. Photograph locations include: India,Thailand, Italy, and Hong Kong.)

Sources: Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. State Department, G/TIP (Global Trafficking in Persons) Report


Creative Advocacy: Artistic Voices for Women and Oppression

When we create, we speak. Our art tells a story. Art shares a viewpoint, elicits feeling, evokes memories and sparks thought.

To advocate using art is to support or speak in favor of something we care about, to act or intercede on behalf of others. 

When we combine creativity with advocacy, we advocate—speak—through our creation.  In a manner of communicating, our creation becomes an ambassador for a cause.

Part of the allure of art is that by nature it takes on a continuous, ever-evolving, morphing and changing form. Ideas are constantly being shaped, developed and birthed. Its freshness solicits attention. It invites us to sit up and take notice.

Information and statistics are very important–they serve to illuminate perspective and reveal truth. But how much more powerful to combine visual or non-visual representations of a thought or idea on behalf of a cause versus using simple text, graphs or a talking head.

Think of the times and ways art has touched and influenced your own life creating a lasting impression.

Was it a story in a book or a poem that caused you to think about the hardships or dreams of a woman–a movie or documentary that highlighted an issue or a woman’s struggle with some form of oppression?  

Maybe it was a painting, sculpture or other artistic representation that employed color, light, texture, illustrations, photographs, themes or any number of other impression markers.

Perhaps you connected through a museum exhibit that spoke the words of women whose own voices were silenced by their oppressors; attended a play, special event or were moved by the lyrics or music in a song created to illuminate these issues.

Creative Advocacy – Artistic Voices

Let’s use our collective voices through artistic expression, to draw eyes, ears and hearts to the topics surrounding the oppression of women. Let’s celebrate women by honoring their lives, hopes, dreams and destinies by leaving lasting impressions on the hearts and minds of our fellow travelers.

Creative advocacy also encourages the women who live under so many forms of oppression across the globe.  It gives hope.  It says someone sees–someone cares. Someone who may not even know me is standing in the gap for my life, my freedom and my destiny.

When We Create, We Speak.

For some women, art may be a reflection of their own life–serving as a wake up call as it leaves an impression about their own reality in light of truth. For others, art tells their story.  It is their voice in proxy. It may be dark or colorful, dynamic or still, intense or full of light. But whatever form it takes, it communicates and it is personal. Art has the power to advocate, promote, challenge, enlighten, inform, inspire and heal.

Our art tells a story, shares a viewpoint and elicits feeling. It evokes memories, sparks thought, and most importantly… it has the power to awaken our conscience.

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos by qthomasbower, Sam Mugraby, Shimelle Laine)

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