Empowering Voices through Art: Germany Ray's Journey of Advocacy and Solidarity

March 11, 2024

By De’Ja Bunyan 

On a quiet street, a colorful mural stands for the fight for women's freedom. Germany Ray, a Fine Arts student who graduated from Virginia Union University (VUU), and Pari Valad, Chair of the Fine Arts Department, worked together to create a 3-foot artwork. This mural supports women in Iran who are fighting against inequality. 

The project is part of the "Woman, Life, Freedom" campaign, showing support for women in Iran who are challenging unfair rules. It is a response to the sad story of Jina Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested for her clothing. This event led to significant protests by women in Iran. 

"I was glad to use my talents to bring attention to this ongoing problem for Iranian women," says Germany Ray. "Many of these women cannot speak out because they fear for their safety, so I will do my part." 

Reflecting on her artistic journey, Ray expressed her gratitude for the opportunities that have come her way, particularly noting the evolution of her work since her first mural in 2018. Her growth as an artist has not gone unnoticed, as she was awarded the fine arts scholarship in the spring of 2023 and has been featured in prominent publications such as The Hill. These accolades testify to the impact of her art and the recognition she has garnered within the artistic community. 

Ray's art journey continues with more impactful projects, aiming to share important social and political messages. After the "Woman, Life, Freedom" mural, Ray stays focused on using her art to make a difference. 

Her next project will be revealed on February 22nd at the Dominion Energy Center, honoring the Richmond 34 students who fought against segregation. This shows her commitment to celebrating the struggles and victories of marginalized groups through her art. 

As she plans for her following projects, Germany Ray is paying attention to important issues today. Given the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, she wants to use her creativity to create art promoting peace and equality. 

"I am still brainstorming my next project, but I do want to create more art that speaks out about what is happening in Palestine and Israel," Ray said. 

She aims to use her art to raise awareness and encourage discussions about complex global problems. 

Germany Ray's dedication to addressing social and political issues through her art shows the power of art to make a difference. Each painting embodies empathy, strength, and support for those whose voices need to be heard and remembered.