Exhibit highlighting Okanagan women launches in Kelowna

Exhibit highlighting Okanagan women launches in Kelowna

The Empowered Project celebrates leaders and change-makers

An exhibit showcasing women from all around the Okanagan has launched.

The Empowered Project celebrates women, their achievements, and the progression of democracy in the context of women’s rights.

That’s according to artist Ana Eries Luyben, who painted the portraits in the exhibit and unveiled them all on Friday (Mar. 6). She said the project took nine months, from finding the women to reaching out to them and finally painting their portraits.

“I wanted to find women who were leading lives that were bold and that were in a leadership position, and leadership in terms of their own lives, not necessarily just in a socio-economic level but even just trauma survivors,” she said.

“Their stories mean a lot to me, and I wanted to shine a light on them.”

Michele Johnson, a Syilx language teacher, is one of the women Luyben painted and featured. Johnson is helping to revitalize Syilx and has been teaching the language in Penticton and area for eleven years. Four months ago, she brought the beginner’s language program to the Westbank First Nation for the first time.

Johnson said it was an honour for her work to be recognized.

“It feels really validating… it’s such a surprise. I can’t even really speak to how it feels because it’s such a surprise to walk in and see my portrait,” she said.

Johnson said the four-month course will end soon, but her students have asked to move on to the next level soon.

“It feels good for me and my people to be acknowledged, along with the work we do with promoting kindness, love and inclusivity.”

The community has the chance to participate in the project throughout the spring, by drawing a self-portrait or a portrait of someone who inspires and empowers them. The drawings will then be collected at the end of the season and put into a collage canvas. Luyben said the plan is to have the finished collage out by the end of the summer.

The project’s proceeds will also go towards supporting the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society’s trauma counselling services.

Luyben said she chose to support Elizabeth Fry because she felt that her project and the society ultimately share the same goal: empowering women.

“I thought that supporting Elizabeth Fry was just a harmonious way to bring the art community and social change together. I wanted to support them and they wanted to support me, and that I think already speaks to empowerment in such a big way.”

READ MORE: Syilx language program comes to West Kelowna

READ MORE: Salmon Arm celebrates International Women’s Day


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

First Nations womenwomen entrepreneurswomen in businesswomen in politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ed taking a break during the Christie Mountain Fire in the summer of 2020 to walk one of evacuated dogs (Photo contributed by ALERT).
ALERT spotlights two team members for National Volunteer Week

Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT) spotlights two volunteers for National Volunteer week

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Ellison Elementary School in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Two more Kelowna schools record COVID-19 exposures

Interior Health is confirming COVID-19 exposures at two schools in Kelowna

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

A North Okanagan man in his late 20s was flown to hospital by air ambulance Saturday, April 17, shortly after 6:30 p.m. after allegedly crashing on his longboard on a Spallumcheen roadway. (File photo)
Suspected longboard crash in Okanagan sends individual to hospital via air ambulance

Accident involved a North Okanagan man in his late 20s on Otter Lake Road in Spallumcheen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Most Read