Women's Work

01.13.17 @ UMOCA 


Presented in partnership with the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in conjunction with the exhibition of Work in Progress.


An evening of storytelling featuring stories of resilience in the face of adversity, growth in the face of strife, and hope in the face of fear from local women with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

This show was hosted in conjunction with UMOCA's exhibition of Work In Progress, a collaborative mural project made of stencil portraits of women who are catalysts for change in the fields of social activism the arts and science.

Stories were curated and workshopped by Giuliana Serena & Nan Seymour of The Bee, selected from dozens suggested by our community members when we put out the call for folks to nominate women whose work they admired to participate in this show.

Portrait by Kurtis Dallon

MArtha Castillo

Martha is a professional caregiver and direct support staff, currently working to continue her education in Pre-Nursing at Salt Lake Community College. Her future goals include gaining entry to a 4 year Nursing program and then continue her Masters in Medical Research. She is involved in volunteer work that focuses on social justice issues, healthcare, and humans rights. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, artistic endeavors, attending local events and caring for peoples pets.

Portrait by Kurtis Dallon

Nubia Peña

Nubia received a Bachelor’s in Sociology with a Criminology emphasis graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors from the University of Utah in 2006. After close to a decade assisting survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and victims of violent crimes as a Law Enforcement Victim Advocate, among other things, she received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in May 2016.

She actively seeks to bring awareness to issues of violence and systemic oppression through her personal and professional endeavors.

Most recently, bringing awareness across the U.S. to the intersections of violence prevention and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, a national epidemic that targets our most vulnerable youth with disproportionate school discipline practices that streamline them into juvenile detention centers. She has served as the Program Coordinator for the Racially Just Utah Coalition and recently joined the team at the Utah Juvenile Defenders Office where she advocates for youth rights during detention and delinquency proceedings.

Ann Pack

Ann is a transgender woman who has lived in Utah her whole life. At 19 she served an LDS mission in London, England. After returning home, she married her wife Brigit in the Bountiful temple in 1999. Together they have a 12 year old daughter who is the center of their world. Currently they live in Syracuse, Utah where they are active in their local LDS ward. 

Ann received her bachelors degree in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix in 2012. That same year she began working for Zion's Bank Corporation as a Systems Administrator. 

Soon after transitioning at work, she was invited to join the Zion's diversity council. She is passionate about creating a safe place for other LGBT individuals.

Portrait by Kurtis Dallon

Cathy Tshilombo Lokemba

In business, and meaning business, for more than 25 years, Cathy is the Founder and Owner of A Beautiful Event and Catering LLC, and MAMA AFRICA LLC, promoting Creole and African High gastronomy in the USA. Growing up in Europe, Africa and the United States, she has been traveling around the world all her life, promoting African culture though advocacy and action. Her non-profit organization, Mama Africa Kitoko supports widows, orphans, and victims of rape and war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she was born.

Cathy holds 2 Bachelors degree in Interior Design and Fashion Design, as well as an associate degree in business administration. She sits on the boards of numerous organizations locally and abraod, such as Women of the World, Congolese Community of Utah, Congolese Community of Dallas Ft. Worth, Mama Africa Kitoko, Chamber of Commerce, and others.

More than just about anything, she loves to laugh and spend time in the kitchen, and with her family, including 5 beloved children and 2 grandchildren.

Portrait by Kurtis Dallon

Samira Harnish

Samira Harnish is passionate about ensuring refugee women are self-reliant. Her perseverance out of an arranged marriage and her success as a senior engineer in a male dominated semiconductor engineering culture steeled her dedication to women’s causes. In 2010, Samira founded Women of the World to fulfill a lifelong dream of assisting women refugees who had suffered mental and physical trauma in war and camps achieve self-sufficiency in her adopted country of America.

Women of the World is Samira’s heart on her sleeve, a 24/7 small business with the mission of supporting women of all nations achieve their dreams. The women that WoW serves have gotten advanced educations, continued to be promoted within their companies, formed their own small businesses, and even returned back to their home countries to teach some of the lessons that Women of the World had taught them. Samira’s life-saving efforts truly have a global reach.

The recepient of numerous awards, she is married to the love of her life, Justin Harnish, and most proud to be the mother of five, and nana for her two beautiful granddaughters.

Portrait by Kurtis Dallon

Kristen Ries

Kristen is now retired from her long career as an MD specializing in infectious disease. She continues to serving on some committees at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and became a delegate for her party at the last election.

In case you missed it in her story, she ended up falling in love with and marrying her stellar PA, Maggie Snyder. Maggie's support was instrumental throughout her practice, and even in the work to prepare to share this story. In between bird watching trips, they hope to continue using what they learned about discrimination to stand up for human rights - especially in our current social and political climate.

Kristen and Maggie's life's work is now the subject of a documentary, Quiet Heroes, which premiered at Sundance in 2018.