Part of WOW – Women of the World

This installation brings new perspectives to a subject that continues to define the situation of women in the 21st century – violence.

Based on the testimonies of over 800 women who live in Maré, Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela complex, Scar was created by genre-defining Brazilian artist Bia Lessa.

For four months in 2017, a Brazilian research team led by Eliana Silva (director of community-based organisation Maré Development Networks and WOW Rio de Janeiro programmer) and Miriam Krenzinger (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) collected witness statements from women who live in Maré – a complex of 16 different communities with nearly 140,000 residents.

The testimonies are published later this year as part of a research collaboration coordinated by Cathy Mcllwaine (King's College London), Paul Heritage (Queen Mary University of London) and the Brazilian research team.

The installation presents the stories of 20 women from Rio de Janeiro, both as unique individuals and as part of a collective expression of resistance.

New dialogues are constructed from looks, silences, words that are exhaustedly repeated: 'fear', 'man', 'mother', 'father', 'daughter', 'hunger', 'beaten'. It brings focus to the repeated gestures: the look down and away, the hand that sweeps away hair or remains strangely fixed.

Produced by People's Palace Projects, and presented by Southbank Centre's WOW – Women of the World festival as part of a research collaboration with Queen Mary University of London, King's College London, Redes da Maré, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the Latin American Women's Rights Service (LAWRS) and CASA Festival, with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council and the Newton Fund.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Royal Festival Hall
Exhibition Space, Level 1



need to know

If you would like to meet one of the women who took part in this project, as well as the key members of its research and artistic teams, please come to the Exhibition Space Foyer, Level 1, Royal Festival Hall for a tour of the installation.

Tours take place:
Friday 9 March, 12.40pm
Saturday 10 March, 2.30pm
Sunday 11 March, 4.10pm