UNDP’s artistic talks: The role of art and culture in empowering women

September 12, 2023


In a world where art transcends boundaries and culture shapes society, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Montenegro, the Embassy of Austria, and Museums, and Galleries of Podgorica hosted an event called Artistic Talks. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the yard of the Gallery “Risto Stijović” in Podgorica, this gathering showcased the power of art and culture in advancing women’s rights, reflecting UNDP’s commitment to gender equality.

Gathering artists from Austria and Montenegro, the event preceded the opening of the “Taking Back the Space” art exhibition featuring Austrian artists. It explored how artistic expressions can challenge traditional gender roles, question societal norms, and reshape established practices.

The evening emphasized the crucial role of culture, history, and the arts in creating an inclusive society that champions human rights and gender equality. The heart of the event was a dialogue that followed, with artists from Austria and Montenegro sharing perspectives on the transformative power of art and their roles in shaping an enabling social environment for gender equality.

Audience members engaged in thought-provoking discussions, sharing diverse viewpoints on the intersection of gender and culture.

The event concluded with closing remarks from Ekaterina Paniklova, UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Ute Friessner, Deputy Head of Mission at the Austrian Embassy in Montenegro, and Vučić Ćetković, Director of the Museums and Galleries of Podgorica.

Art and cultural expression

Austrian artists Petra Gell and Judith Gattermayr and Montenegro’s Svetlana Lola Miličković brought their unique perspectives to the event. Petra Gell passionately advocates for equality, challenging gender classifications and addressing societal inequalities through her site-specific work, TAKE BACK THE SPACE.

Judith Gattermayr explores the intersection of corporeality and identity, constructing and deconstructing bodies and characters, unveiling individuals hidden behind façades. Gattermayr's CRUSHED, part of TAKE BACK THE SPACE, addresses the fragility of identity by showing a body that eludes clear attributions.


Svetlana Lola Miličković’s graphic design contributions have left an indelible mark on educational materials and cultural events. The event also provided an opportunity to reflect on Milena Jovićević’s captivating artistry, delving into profound societal issues despite her absence, but also to have a short talk with the artist Duda Duletić and her engaged art, also supported by UNDP.

This event was not just a gathering and conversation – it was a celebration of the transformative power of art and culture in advancing women’s rights and promoting gender equality, and a testament to the significance of partnership in ensuring that women's voices and contributions are celebrated and remembered.