I was born a girl

Art for women's rights

I was born a girl is an empowering project about women’s rights with art and poetry by Finnish artist Minna Pietarinen. The project includes:

1. An international art exhibition and poetry collection
2. A virtual art exhibition
3. A book with art and poems

The purpose of the project is to raise awareness and inspire action related to women’s rights. The exhibition highlights different aspects of women’s rights globally and carries the message that everyone can promote and support them in their own way.
The art and poetry also serves as emotional support for women who have been discriminated against or whose rights have been violated.

The exhibition will be opened in cooperation with the Embassy of Finland in Mexico City on March 3rd, 2023 as well as virtually. The exhibition will move to  Berlin in the spring  of 2023 after which it will return to Helsinki and  then South Africa and possibly Los Angeles.

We believe that gender-equality will benefit everyone in the world and that the responsibility of achieving Sustainable Development Goal #5 for Gender Equality belongs to all of us!

Art & poetry by Minna Pietarinen

The leading piece of the exhibition is a 2 x 3 meter piece of Malala, which represents girls and women’s’ right to education. In addition to the Malala work, the exhibition includes 8 more pieces (100 x 150 cm) that have been painted exclusively for this exhibition.

The right to peace and security is represented by art featuring the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska and the art featuring Mahsa Amini highlights the position of women in Iran and their right to freedom. Minna has also painted art featuring UN Women Ambassador Jaha Dukureh to represent her advocacy to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Finnish president Tarja Halonen represents the right to political participation and decision making and Rigoberta Menchú Tum the rights of indigenous women. Each cause will be linked to an organization through which the work done for this specific right can be supported.

The virtual exhibition

The goal of the whole exhibition is to empower as many women as possible around the world as well as shine the light on women’s rights to people of all ages and genders. The Virtual Art Exhibition is therefore open and accessible to everyone, everywhere, for free.

This part of the project also supports the UN Generation Equality theme “Technology and innovations for equality”, where Finland plays a leading role. The virtual exhibition is also a great way to reach millennials and Generation Z in a way that is natural to them.

In addition to the art and poetry, each piece will have information about that specific right so that anyone wishing to support that cause can donate to the chosen organizations with just one click.

The virtual gallery will launch simultaneously with the opening of the physical art-exhibition. If you are interested in collaborating from a social responsibility perspective, please get in touch by the end of January 2023. 


Minna Pietarinen

Minna Pietarinen was born a girl, as the 3rd oldest child in a Laestadian family with 17 children. Motherhood was strongly the role model into which women grew, determined by religious rules with life instructions fueled by fear of a place in heaven. At the age of 18, she was married and at the age of 27 she had gone through 9 pregnancies, of which she was left with 5 children. In 2012, she left both her religion and her marriage. Minna has always dealt with the difficulties in her life by painting and writing, from which she discovered art therapy and later trained herself as an art therapy instructor. The purpose of Minna’s artworks and poems is to offer support, to empower and inspire. Her art has crossed the borders of Finland many times and today touch people all over the world.

She founded Sinako, an art- coaching company together with Peppi Stünkel, in order to bring the power of art and peer-support through art exhibitions to the world. A dream was born to make human rights visible through art and poetry, so that even one woman in the world could become aware of them and get support for herself to change her own life, to support her own mental health and empower herself as a woman.

Minna’s life story can be found in Yle areena 2014: Cinderella stories Tuhkimotarinoita Minna