Dutch Promote Women’s Rights With a Massive Portrait

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To assist Netherlands feminist foundation Mama Cash with promoting and protecting women’s rights around the world, world renowned Cuban-American terrestrial artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada created an enormous portrait of a woman’s face in Dutch soil. He explains: “Using fertile soil to create this piece becomes a metaphor for what can come forth if the vision of these women is respected and allowed to bring about change.” With the help of 80 volunteers, Zeeburgereiland in Amsterdam, which is larger than 2 football fields was transformed to become the fierce face of a female activist in less than a week. They used almost 5 miles of rope, 7 tons of straw, 5,300 cubic feet of soil, and 1,150 wooden poles to bring Gerada’s vision to life.


After the murders of 24 human rights defenders in Central America in 2010 and 2011, six women’s rights organizations came together to create the Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders. Those involved in the initiative are committed to preventing attacks, threats, and murders of women exercising their rights to strengthen democratic institutions. The massive portrait, which will remain in Zeeburgeriland for one year is called “Vogelvrije Vrouwen: Defend Women Who Defend Human Rights.” According to Mama Cash writer Amanda Gigler:

The phrase Vogelvrije Vrouwen in Dutch has deep literal and figurative meaning. Vogelvrije literally means “free as a bird” but also has the connotation of a person who is outside the boundaries of the legal system, someone who is not protected by the law. Vrouwen means “women”, thus the campaign slogan, Vogelvrije Vrouwen, sheds light on the women whose struggles for justice and freedom are threatened by institutionalised impunity.

See more urban installations and other artworks by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada on his website and Flickr. You can also subscribe to him on YouTube and Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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