Artist Ann Weiner / Photos by Stacy Bass
Artist Ann Weiner / Photos by Stacy Bass
Weiner’s representation of Malala Yousafzai
Weiner’s representation of Malala Yousafzai
Weiner’s representation of Grace Akallo
Weiner’s representation of Grace Akallo

WESTPORT — “When Caged Birds Sing,” an exhibition focusing on human rights, will open Oct. 29 at MoCA Westport.

Works in the exhibit, created by Westport artist Ann Weiner, were acquired for the museum’s permanent collection last February.

A reception open to the public is planned Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m., before the formal opening of “When Caged Birds Sing” the next day. The exhibition will be on view through Jan. 8, 2022, at the museum, 19 Newtown Turnpike.

“When Caged Birds Sing”features eight life-size sculptures representing “women’s rights activists who suffered and survived abuse because of their gender, and who continue to advocate for the rights of others at risk,” according to a MoCA release.

The title of the exhibition is drawn from the Maya Angelou poem, “Caged Bird,” featuring the refrain, “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

Weiner uses “assemblage art” to spotlight issues including sex trafficking, kidnapping, transphobia, female genital mutilation, honor killings, domestic abuse, kidnapped girls forced to become sex slaves and killers by rebel armies, Taliban law and transphobia, the museum description says.

Among the women portrayed in the exhibit are Malala Yousafzai, a survivor of Taliban rule in Afghanistan who later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Laverne Cox,  transgender actress and advocate who starred in the television series, “Orange is the New Black.”

A reading area in the gallery will include books and documents on the exhibition subjects and themes. 

Visitors also will be invited to write messages on paper that will be folded into an origami bird and placed in a cage. 

A 45-minute documentary about the women featured in the exhibition will also be shown.

There is no charge for admission. Gallery hours are: noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and noon to 7 p.m. Thursdays. 

For information, contact Leslie LaSala (leslie@mocawestport.org) or Liz Leggett, director of exhibitions (liz@mocawestport.org). School groups interested in scheduling guided class tours should contact Anne Greenberg, director of education (anne@mocawestport.org).

For general information about MoCA Westport, call 203-222-7070 or email info@mocawestport.org.