In addition to its devastating health effects, COVID-19 has resulted in an increase in domestic violence cases. It is a horrendous story that is, sadly, only part of an ever-growing realization—a “shadow pandemic,” as the United Nations has claimed. A veritable scourge against women around the world. Along with the help of some friends (new and old) from Mexico and the U.S., one woman has channeled her frustration regarding this alarming trend into a unique therapeutic artform. The results have resonated far and wide.
Marietta Bernstorff had had enough. After absorbing the terrifying statistics about missing and murdered women in Mexico, specifically the long-standing horrors that continue to occur in Juárez, where still today little is done by local governments—as well as the global treatment of women in various societies, even in developing countries like her own, she decided to do something about it.
She started a tactile movement, the core of which featured a novel and powerful idea: healing through community. The initiative, titled “The Patchwork Healing Blanket / La Manta de Curacíon,” came as a result of Bernstorff, accompanied by a group of artists from Oaxaca and Mexico City, reaching out to global artists—all of them female—to create an international, textile art project to unite generations of women in the ongoing fight against gender-based violence.
The response was overwhelming. And the work itself, poignant and powerful: 600 individual vibrant patchworks, created and submitted by female artisans (ranging in age from 8 to 78) from all over the globe. Each piece communicates women’s power via a universal visual language—yet, somehow, they are all startlingly unique. The panels are moving individual works of a cohesive art project, compiled and assembled using various techniques, including painting, printmaking, embroidery, and crochet work.
Best of all, thanks to SPARC—the Social and Public Art Resource Center—based in California, a virtual gallery has been created to showcase the artwork digitally, available for anybody to view from wherever they reside. Book yourself a virtual visit and let the healing begin.