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The Kalan Museum of Healthy Masculinities: Art to Heal and Transform

Blogs Stories Conference 2023 Funding Ecosystem

Rodrigo Barraza, Global Fund for Children.

Versión en español disponible aquí.

Since 2014, Global Fund for Children (GFC) and allies such as the Summit Foundation and the Kendeda Fund have invested in community-based organizations interested in promoting healthy masculinities for gender justice in Latin America. So far, GFC has offered flexible funding, capacity development, and networking opportunities to more than 20 organizations in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, benefiting more than 30,000 children and youth.

Thanks to the comprehensive support of GFC, our partners have been able to build safe spaces for boys and young men to share emotions, access comprehensive sexuality education, and launch advocacy proposals to build societies free of violence.

One of the tools most used by our partners to promote other ways of being men and boys is art. Through art, participants can critically reflect on their realities, express emotions, and build deep connections. Painting, music, and cinema are just some of the artistic expressions that allow youth to imagine other worlds, influence their communities, and create new languages of resistance.

Recognizing the power of art as a driver of social change, GFC and its partners decided to create the Kalan Museum (Kalan means “care” in the Mayan language) of healthy masculinities. The museum is an itinerant artistic project that seeks to raise awareness among children and young people and their communities about the importance of promoting masculinities based on care and social justice.

The museum is a living, moving space made up of artistic creations by children and young people from the region. It crosses borders to nourish itself from the exchange with diverse children and youth. Its main objectives are: 1) to contribute to the construction of new narratives around masculinity that promote gender equity; 2) to strengthen youth leadership; and 3) to contribute to the creation of a collective memory of a masculinity that is caring and responsible.

The museum was exhibited for the first time in Oaxaca, Mexico, in November 2022 as part of the Human Rights Funders Network Global Conference, which brings together a network of donors that support efforts to promote and defend human rights around the world. In addition to showing the artistic pieces created by the young people we support, we set up playful and interactive spaces for the conference participants to contribute to the dialogue and reflect on the following question: How can we all contribute to the construction of masculinities based on love and co-responsibility?

Some of the responses were:

  • Challenge harmful gender stereotypes
  • Get more involved as men in care tasks
  • Take care of our physical and mental health

As a result, new connections that may spark future collaborations were established with organizations in Colombia and Mexico.

In 2023, GFC and its partners will exhibit the museum in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. In each place, more boys and young men will be invited to create art and reflect on their masculinity.

Art to heal. Art to transform. Art to be better.

Caption: Presentation of GFC’s Kalan Museum of Healthy Masculinities as part of the Discovery Journeys activity at the Human Rights Funders Network Global Conference in Mexico in November 2022.
Credit: Global Fund for Children



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