Amy Sow

"Through art we can change a lot of things"

Amy Sow, a Mauritanian visual artist, sits at her studio in Nouakchott, Mauritania, 26 February, 2016.
UNICEF

In Mauritania, painter Amy Sow uses her artwork to end violence against women. 

Amy Sow has had to work hard to fulfill her creative ambitions. Despite there being no school of fine arts in Mauritania, and very few female artists from whom to learn, she pursued her passion for painting and has exhibited abroad – the only Mauritanian visual artist to do so. 

For Sow, art is a means of expression and a powerful way to draw attention to social issues faced by women. As importantly, art can be a catalyst for change. 

"I thought about this and decided that I have a voice – so why not denounce what women have to endure? Even in the home you see women suffering violence but not daring to talk about it. They prefer to keep it to themselves, to hide it away. I think this is wrong and my aim is to help." 

With less than 100 artists in Mauritania, Sow believes that young people should be encouraged to take up art.  

"If we had a school of fine arts, I think this would help reduce crime, perhaps even begging. Why not? Art helps you integrate." 

Amy Sow may be one of only a few artists in Mauritania, but by using her work to creatively advocate for the rights of women and children, she is striving to ultimately paint a brighter future for young people in her country.