Pearls of Wisdom: End the Violence

About this Exhibition

Pearls of Wisdom: End the Violence is a two-year community engagement project that was created by artist Kim Abeles in collaboration with A Window Between Worlds and 800 survivors of domestic abuse and community supporters to forge courage and build momentum to end domestic violence. It is designed to help survivors recognize their personal strength.

Using the metaphor of valuable pearls formed inside oysters in response to a harmful irritant, participants in 70 workshops across California transformed memories of domestic pain into objects and shared texts that offered public lessons of courage, strength and solidarity. Survivors gain strength as they create healthy, violence-free lives that, in turn, offer stories that inspire and nurture others to mobilize the community to end domestic violence.

The Pearls of Wisdom project includes exhibitions, workshops, public programs, a full-color catalog, an online curriculum for teachers, and an online blog.

Support from the James Irvine Foundation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles, Durfee Foundation, Korean Cultural Center, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Target and the Women’s Foundation of California as well as many generous individuals and organizations, community advisors and the AWBW network of leaders and volunteers made this expansive community engagement project possible.


Think about your own life lessons that you’ve learned from overcoming difficulties and then share them on our community wall.

To Create A Pearl:

Gather your supplies — paper, pencils, pens, crayons — then draw or trace a circle. Listen to your own heart as you create your pearl of wisdom.

To Share Your Pearl:

Take a digital photo of your pearl, or scan and upload an image to your computer. Click on the “ADD TO GALLERY” button below. Be sure to include your words of wisdom in the “Words to go with my art” field when uploading your pearl.

Lead Artist: Kim Abeles

Lead Artist: Kim Abeles

Kim Abeles' installations and community projects cross disciplines and media to explore broad social issues, bringing together together biography, geography and environment through her work. She has created artwork in conjunction with a unique range of collaborators such as the Bureau of Automotive Repair, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, California Science Center, Natural History museums in California and Colorado, and the Lakota Indians of South Dakota. She has exhibited in twenty-two countries, including large-scale installations in Vietnam, Thailand, Czech Republic, England, China and forthcoming in South Korea. She represented the U.S. in both the Fotografie Biennale Rotterdam and the Cultural Centre of Berchem in Antwerp. Her work is in numerous private and public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, California African American Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and is archived in the library collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt Publication Design Collection of the Smithsonian. Abeles received fellowships from J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, California Community Foundation, Durfee Foundation, Pollack-Krasner Foundation, and the California Arts Council.

Pearl of Wisdom:

"Love the people even who are hard to love." - Langston Hughes

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