“In the Name of Love” is an art exhibition that seeks to bring awareness to the issues of gender-based violence. A reception opening the exhibit will be held at the Hays Arts Council on February 8th at 6pm. This exhibit features 20 pieces of art created by African artists, as well as several pieces from Chinese and local Kansas artists. The exhibition will run through the first of March. While the majority of the collection can be viewed in Hays, Kansas, a smaller collection will be available for viewing at the Ecumenical Campus Ministries of the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

The African art work is provided by a Namibian organization called Victims2Survivors. The pieces were originally displayed in the National Art Gallery of Namibia as part of the Unite to End GBV Exhibition, and was co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Most recently the exhibit has been on display in Geneva, Switzerland.

This powerful exhibition is the product of a partnership between two not for profit organizations, one from Kansas, USA and one from Namibia, Africa. Despite the geographical differences, Jana’s Campaign and Victims2Survivors agree that ‘In the Name of Love’ is a first step in bringing awareness to the public about the global social disease of gender-based violence. Both entities believe gender violence does not discriminate by race, belief, or geographical location, which is the foundation in making this unique partnership a reality.

The purpose of this collection is not merely to be admired by the passerby. The purpose of this collection is to bring to light the ugly face of love that countless women worldwide hide behind. It is to realize that for many, this month of February in which people celebrate love with flowers, chocolate, and Hallmark cards, is a fallacy for the concealed agony of millions.

This is not just art – this is love, this is hate, this is violence, this is equality, this is storytelling, this is reality, this is hope. Through it, numerous artists have created visual empathy that can be viewed and felt by all who encounter it.