Honor’ killing is defined by the Honour Based Violence Awareness Network as the ultimate sanction against a woman who has deemed to have offended collective morality; may be a highly organised and premeditated crime, decided upon through a collective decision-making process involving a family ‘council’ meeting, in which the murder is planned to the last detail; alternatively, it may also be less organised, but still be supported by a wider collective than the apparent perpetrator.
These violent occurrences are a complex issue that is often based on patriarchal family structures which closely interlace the concept of honor with community approval and, in some instances, stringent punishments for the offender out of fear of ostracization for the entire family. I began researching this topic with the goal of understanding the conflicting cultural, religious, and sexual power that motivates communal murder. I’ve attempted to remain respectful of these families who I only know through news reports and statistical data by keeping the work about simply acknowledging the existence of the women and what happened to them. I had a tough time trying to figure out whether or not I have the right to speak of a culture that I am not a part of but what I ultimately decided was that I have a voice in this controversy simply because I am a woman, I am a human being and I care about the lives of other human beings.
In my research it was difficult to find accurate statistics as studies of the phenomenon of honor based violence are limited. Where the murder of women and men with the justification of family ‘honor’ is a communal act, in which the victim is seen as the violator, there is enormous motivation for the family and community to hide or attempt to cover up the murders. In this way, the victims are effectively erased from society making honor-based violence difficult to assess. What is suggested is that there is no single ethnic, cultural or religious indicator of honor based violence as it has occurred within many different cultures throughout history. Particularly within patriarchal societies where there are tight controls upon female autonomy. While Islam is held to be related to ‘honor’ killings, due to the harsh and inhumane punishments against sexual ‘immorality’ enacted in Islamic states, they do not authorize or condone such actions and have some protocols in place that are meant to deter such retribution. This is not to suggest that there is no link whatsoever, as many interpretations of religion, and articulations of family law, tend to exhibit and encourage male dominance within families and negative attitudes to female sexual autonomy, creating an environment in which violence against women may be occasioned and justified. [Honour Based Violence Awareness Network, http://honour-killings.com%5D
In many cases honor killings hold no threat of punishment or, at the most, light sentences. The UK and the US are no exception, often honor killings hold lesser sentences than first degree murder; typically in the US these murders are not even acknowledged as honor killings. Many are listed as manslaughter, accidental death, or suicide. Women and young girls are threatened with forced marriages, genital mutilation, forced abortion, imprisonment, abduction, torture, forced suicides and murder. It seems strange that, despite reaching out to authorities for protection, these girls and women often remain in their situations for many years or until it’s too late to help. The US social services are rarely equipped to substantiate this form of abuse and, even if possible, the fear of creating controversy over cultural or religious issues seems to pervade western society and thwart any attempt to seek justice or make change.
“In the wider community domestic violence is seen as a bad thing, whereas with honor based violence there are too many supporters of it and even if they’re not supporters, through their silence they are encouraging…just sitting still and saying nothing gives people the opportunity to say well, actually nobody said it was wrong.” ~ Nazir Afzal, OBE, HBVA
It isn’t my intention with this work to pass judgment on any cultural or governmental structure. I am asking people to be aware of the pressures that lead to honor violence; to look at these women, hear the stories and ask themselves how they feel about what’s happening. I’m asking people to question the responsibility of our government to intervene on behalf of the basic human rights of it’s citizens through laws meant to protect regardless of gender, religion or cultural background and ask ourselves why there is such a fear of societal backlash when someone does speak out for or against the practices of other cultures within the context of western civilization even when it poses a threat to human life. Ultimately, it is most important that we remember these women, some of whose names we know, but so many more that have had their existences erased by those charged with protecting them. The structures in this exhibit take their shapes from monuments and memorials speaking to the women that have been lost and the violence of their deaths; each monument connected by or containing woven bindings against empty pages. These vacant books reference the lives that have been erased and the connection between all people that transcends cultural, gendered, and religious boundaries.
These figures are from the AHA Foundation.org are considered estimates and are widely believed to be severe underestimates. Due to lack of focused reporting and recording of Honor Killings internationally very little is known about the true extent of HBV worldwide.
• 5000 honor killings internationally per year.
• 1000 honor killings occur in India
• 1000 honor killings occur in Pakistan
• 12 honor killings per year in UK

Graffiti artist Nero Jones created paintings of the Nashville skyline. A member of WorkForce Rebellion he is exhibiting cut paper stencils to create images.The exhbit runs July 7th – July 28th. WorkForce Rebellion is a creative group consisting of artists and dj’s dedicated to perfecting their craft everyday through a strong work ethic. By doing what they love, they try to influence others to do the same, whether it is singing, dancing, writing, or anything that helps you find that spark that makes you excited about tomorrow and the next day. The members of the group consist of Pakoe, Ragoe, Rex2, Audroc,Nero Jones, Kidsmeal, and Wick-It. However, the WorkForce movement is growing every day and we consider all those who support what we do as a part of the Rebellion.

Nashville, TN (March 26, 2012) Blend Studio presents, My Home is a Nest, an interactive installation by artists Lindsay Black and Tiffany Dyer. My Home is a Nest is a community collaboration with participants reflecting on their idea of home. Participants were given a piece of the nest, the center of the installation, and wrote a reflection of their home. All the pieces were returned and fitted neatly together to create a human scale nest. Viewers are invited to interact with the installation by entering the nest and experiencing the refuge of a safe, comforting space, much like home. Those who did not get to participate before the opening are invited to participate during the art crawl. Nest pieces will be available to add to the installation. The exhibit will open May 5, 2012 from 6-9pm during the downtown art crawl.
Black, an art educator, received her BFA from Belmont University, as well as her Master of Arts in Teaching. She is also a painter and sculptor. She will be showing recent paintings during this exhibit reflecting various experiences that can change or alter ones perception of home.
Dyer is also an art educator. She studied art education and visual art at Tennessee Tech and recently received her MFA from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. She is an installation and fiber artist who uses re-purposed, salvaged and scavenged materials and incorporates interactive and participatory elements into her installations. She explores issues of collectivity, opportunity, and labor. Embracing notions of momentarily lived objects she offers alternatives to static, single voiced art production.
In addition to the gallery exhibit, Black and Dyer will host a free workshop May 26, 2012 from 12-2pm for all ages.

Blend Studio’s is excited to present “And Worms Will Never Charm Me,” a solo show of work by Amanda Dillingham. The show consists of a variety of pen and ink drawings and embossings that explore the theme of regeneration as it relates to humans, earthworms, planaria (tape worms) and starfish. The exhbit runs April 7th – April 28th with the opening on April 7th from 6-9pm. For more information please see the artist statement below and/or contact Blend Studio’s at blendstudio79@gmail. com.

Artist Statement

A streak of light bursts through the ocean’s rocky surface illuminating a starfish systematically sucking water through it’s spiky, tubed rays as it slowly moves across the ocean floor. A large looming net plunges in from the surface above catching the starfish as part of it’s bounty. Serendipitously, the starfish snaps right at the point where it’s ray connects to the body. Although impending doom seems certain the fortuitous starfish refuses to wither away into nothingness, instead it becomes two.

At the same moment, a twenty-something girl stands in front of a mirror assessing herself and the day. Her occupation calls for formality with her appearance in order to seem the appropriate age and demeanor. Her plans also include an evening with friends for which she needs to be casual and fun, while still maintaining a hot and sexy vibe that makes her alluring. How will she appeal to both? Like the starfish she will break into two.

To regenerate is to undergo moral, spiritual or physical renewal. Many species such as planarian (tapeworms), earthworms and starfish have regenerative properties, demonstrating renewal from the breaking of their bodies.

While the human body also has biological, regenerative qualities (the finger nail or navel, for instance), the notion is even more applicable to the less literal concept of self. We allow ourselves to be culturally defined by various structures and standards in order to create a new version of self that will ‘fit in’ through cosmetic surgery, diets, exercise, fashion, cosmetics, tattoos and piercings. As our identities change to adhere to social constructs, we are in a constant state of reconstruction.

These drawings blur the line between the human form and regenerative species showing fragments of both, interacting, reacting and integrating. Matches have been embossed into the paper as a mark of potentiality.

Through these drawings I invite the viewer to consider how they too regenerate. Regeneration is an opportunity to not only recreate ourselves but also recreate our cultural ideas. When the net descends will it result in capture or recreation?

Link to online article – Nashville Scene

Photovoice at Blend Studio

Dig If You Will a Picture

by Steve Haruch

Guided by a belief that people are experts on their own lives, a group of Vanderbilt undergrads worked with some fellow Nashvillians on a project that combines sociological documentation with fine art. Twenty students in Laura Carpenter’s “Seeing Social Life” class (SOC 219-01) gave disposable cameras to a select group — representing the worlds of roller derby, beauty salons, working mothers and live music venues — then asked them to photograph the important things in their lives and talked with them about the results. Among the questions they discussed: “What is really happening in this photograph? How does this relate to our lives?” Photovoice pairs candid photos with some of the photographers’ responses to those questions.
Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: April 3. Continues through April 24, 2010

Blend Studio’s ‘Message in a Bottle’ invites conversation

Link to Tennessean article

March 14, 2010

When Samantha Callahan and Ben Vitualla opened Blend Studio last summer, they wanted to support artists whose work encouraged community involvement. The latest show, Tina Ahyoka’s Message in a Bottle, continues that focus.

“It’s the artist’s project, but it does become attached to the gallery,” Callahan says. Sometimes the gallery becomes a drop-off point for materials — bottles in this case — used in the show.

Using medicine, beverage and other bottles, local artist Ahyoka creates works ranging from “dragonflies” constructed of bottles, glass beads and copper wire; and Messagettes, a clever riff on word origins.

999 Bottles, a backlit wall made of stacked brown, green and clear beer bottles — still bearing labels and secured by dowels and adhesive — spans the back of the gallery. The jagged pattern formed by the bottles recalls both a heart monitor and Charlie Brown’s pullover.

Message in a Bottle remains on view at Blend Studio, located upstairs in the Arcade at #79, through March 27. (After that, Ahyoka will use some of the bottles in a public art project at Long Hunter State Park.) The gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and till 3 p.m. Saturday. There is no admission charge. For information, call 554-1340 or go to http://www.blendstudio.wordpress.com.


Message in a Bottle

ARTIST TALK with Tina Ahyoka

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Join us for an artist talk with Tina Ahyoka as she talks about her passion for glass recycling and explains the process of glass recycling.

Refreshments will be served.


MARCH 2010
Message in a Bottle
Featuring Tina Ahyoka
March 6, 2010 – March 27, 2010

Opening Reception:
First Saturday Gallery Crawl: March 6, 2010; 6-9pm

Artist Talk:
Saturday, March 13, 2010; 1-3pm


In collaboration with the Oasis Center

February 6, 2010 – February 27, 2010

Opening Reception:
First Saturday Gallery Crawl: February 6, 2010; 6-9pm


Call for glass bottles!

Tina Ahyoka is preparing for the upcoming project “Message in a Bottle”.
If you have glass beverage bottles to recycle, please let us know!

Check out the link for more info…



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