Online exhibition: Stories We Tell

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The Women’s Caucus for Art has curated an online version of their show “The Stories We Tell.”  I am pleased to have work from my series “The Perfect Stone” included in the exhibit. While I haven’t seen it, I believe I have a few other pieces included in the catalogue.

There is a lot of other great work, so definitely poke around.

http://www.nationalwca.org/nationalshows/storiesgallery.php

Below is their description of the show:

The Women’s Caucus for Art announced a national call for STORIES WE TELL, portraying the tradition of visual storytelling through women’s voices. What stories do we tell ourselves, make up about ourselves, tell others, or share with our families, friends and the larger world? What needs to be heard? Whether activist or abstract, we are seeking artwork that addresses your aesthetic, political, or philosophical perspectives. Storytelling is central to human existence, common to every known culture and women are usually the record-keepers and the storytellers of the family. We use spoken and visual narratives to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others. The stories areactivist/political, a contemporary interpretation of an ancient myth, and based on personal or family stories displayed with 45 works chosen by Jessica Porter. 

This call was open to all self-identified women residing in the United States. WCA asked for artwork in all media and genre: figurative/narrative, text based art, and abstract/conceptual; art that weaves together a story through mood and tone, work to provoke and inspire. Artists were encouraged to interpret this theme broadly; and submit works that have resonance and meaning to them and the viewers.

 

Stop by: The Stories We Tell

Take a moment to visit the exhibition “The Stories We Tell” at the Phoenix Gallery in Cheslea (New York). The show a beautifully curated collection organized by the Women’s Caucus for Art. Last weekend’s opening was packed. Below are a few images. Full disclosure: the show includes a selection from my series, The Perfect Stone.

The Gallery is located at 210 East 11th Avenue at 25th street and The Phoenix Gallery is on the 9th floor. It is worth spending a couple of hours visiting other galleries on the street and the building.

Stories We Tell

I am honored to have been chosen to share a selection of my series “The Perfect Stone” at the Phoenix Gallery in NYC this September as part of a “Stories We Tell” exhibit sponsored by the Women’s Caucus for Art. A few selections from my series “Kindling” will be in the catalogue as well. Thanks to all involved. I look forward to seeing the rest of the work in September.

How safe are the women of the world?

Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Has anyone seen the latest episode of PBS’s Frontline called “Outlawed in Pakistan”? It features the story of a brave young woman – really just a girl – 13 year old Kainat Soomro, who takes on law and custom when she accuses four men of gang rape. If you haven’t, I’ve linked to the program here http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/outlawed-in-pakistan/.

The show raises many of the questions I was exploring in my series, Is This the Answer https://smithgarcesart.com/is-this-the-answer/

What is the answer to keeping the world’s women and girls safe from physical and sexual abuse? What will it take for our sisters, mothers, and daughters to live in safety without shame?  “Is this the Answer?” reflects on the prevalence of physical and sexual abuse, victim’s internalized feelings of shame, and the failure world wide to provide women and girls with protection and redress. The juxtaposition of these medieval instruments of torture, with western proverbs taken from history, are comments on the continued vulnerability of women in the 21st century. Together the proverbs and images underscore mixed messages that women still struggle to reconcile today.

In the middle ages women could be sentenced to wear shaming devices for being too outspoken, for dressing in a way that was considered shameful, or simply walking in a way that was considered enticing to men. Today, women no longer are sentenced to wear a branks, or mask of shame, but may still be silenced by internalized notions of self-blame. Feelings of guilt are frequent among victims of physical and sexual abuse. Women continue to “Suffer and Be Still”, witnessed by the continued under reporting of rape world wide. Women, young and old, frequently internalize blame in domestic assault cases, insisting that they elicit abuse by provoking their partners or by not being docile enough. The double pillory presented in “It Takes Two to Make a Quarrel”, literally binds both victim and abuser together, making no distinction between them, in much the same way women have been known to make excuses for an abusive partner.

Despite the romanticization of the chastity belt, women who were locked in this devise (“Under Lock and Key”) to maintain their “honor” despite it’s inability to protect, were more often inflicted with physical and emotional pain. Then, as now, women who lose their “purity”, even in cases of rape, can face a punishment of death. A cage or “gibbet, ” like the one featured above, once used to inflict a slow and torturous death, might today be put to better use as a protective devise for a young woman coming of age.

I invite you to share your thoughts.

Call for Participants

Veiled Identity

Veiled Identity Questionnaire Print Version

Veiled IdentityA few years ago while on vacation in Europe, I went to dinner with my husband, walking hand-in-hand on a lovely winding street. The shop keepers we passed on the street were friendly and smiled as we passed. I felt happy and light hearted as we headed to our much anticipated meal. Our spirits were not dampened on our return walk after dinner, despite the rain that had started to fall. I felt proud of my own ingenuity at adapting to the change in weather by tying a scarf on my head. Something had changed though: the shop keepers did not smile at me this time, their smiles were replaced with something else—scowls, angry stares, and flat expressions. One man looked from my face, to the scarf on my head. He took a step toward me, but then seemed to hang back uncertainly when he saw my husband walking briskly beside me. I was relieved when we made it back to the hotel without incident, and I removed the scarf from my head. The scarf in my hand was nothing more than a piece of fabric, and yet it made all the difference in the world to people who knew nothing of me, except that my head was covered.

I am a professional artist, a visual essayist working on editorial images focusing on the effects of social constraints, physical abuse, social injustice, and intolerance on women of varying cultures. Veiled Identity is an art project which seeks to understand what is behind the banning of the headscarf. The news in recent years is full of stories concerning debates throughout Europe about the criminalization of the headscarf. To some, the headscarves are symbol of repression, and banning it’s use is seen as liberating to the wearer. To others, the headscarf is a proud symbol of Muslim identity, and attempts to ban it’s use are rooted in racism. Lost in the debate are the voices of Muslim women, who are seldom asked what wearing the veil, or deciding against wearing the veil, means to them. Is forcing women in a democracy to remove headscarves liberation, or oppression?

I am looking for a number of Muslim women who would be willing to take part in my latest art project, by answering a few questions about issues related to identity and belonging. If participants choose, I am also looking for headscarves to photograph as models for  still lifes. All scarves will be returned upon completion of the drawings. Scarves which you may wish to donate will be exhibited with the drawings at a later date. I’ve posted a questionnaire above for those that are interested in being part of the project. Questionnaires should only take a few minutes to fill out, and will remain anonymous.

My goal is to create an art project that seeks to illuminate and understand these debates over identity. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ssgdesign@earthlink.net.

Art for Art’s Sake

On April 26 from 7-10pm, I will be showing and selling prints at the 6th annual “Art for Art’s Sake” fundraiser. “Art for Art’s Sake” benefits art education at the Lincoln School in Brookline, MA. The event will be at the school, 19 Kennard Rd. in Brookline. In the past up to 40 others artists have shown their work as well. There will be live music and cash bar (the event is 21 and up). The work ranges from painting to prints, sculpture, photography, and crafts. Below are prints I will make available. Many are from my series on the Lovesong of J. Alfred Prudrock. I will be bringing pieces from several other series as well. Please be in touch with any questions, comments, or inquiries.