Awesome Womxn!

Art portfolio- my work, Studio news/blog

I’m excited that my work will be included in the “Awesome Womxn” group- exhibition curated by Dr. Adele Adendorff, hosted by the Association of Arts in Pretoria in celebration of Women’s month 2019.

Awesome Womxn series

from the curator:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2014) explains in her book, We should all be feminists, that “single stories” curtail and inform our thinking, “especially about Africa.” Adichie urges us to “unlearn” the lessons of our youth and, instead, foster a new narrative where we may all strive to be as we are.

This year’s exhibition is viewed as such an open platform whereby gender, in particular, womxn, are celebrated, questioned, showcased and narrated to offer new, multiple stories of who we are.  The appellation, womxn, is an open-ended and inclusive term that offers alternative narratives for all who identify with the intersectional politics of womxn. The exhibition will be accompanied by a digital catalogue.

Inanna and Pre-Her-Storic

meanwhile … The word “Womxn” made me think of:

The X-men (superheroes) … which made me think of

Manga (Japanese comics)…but actually a “mangled Manga”, since I added animal heads onto the ‘Manga’ inspired bodies of these figures. I also find it noteworthy that the word Manga, contains “man’  (tongue in the cheek, cheekiness)

I decided to work on a series of:

Toys/Dolls…because I thought of …

Simone de Beauvoir:

 “…one is not born but rather becomes a woman”. In childhood there is no difference between the sexes in terms of what they are capable. Differentiation begins when boys are told of their superiority and how they need to prepare for the difficult, heroic path ahead. While pride in his sex is pointed out to him by adults, the girl’s sexual anatomy does not receive the same reverence. Urinating also produces a sexual difference: for the boy it is a game, but for the girl a shameful and inconvenient procedure. Even if a girl has no ‘penis envy’ the presence of an organ that can be seen and grasped helps him to identify himself and it becomes a kind of alter ego. For the girl it is the doll which becomes the alter ego. There is really no “maternal instinct”, de Beauvoir argues, but through play with the doll she ascertains that the care of the children falls on the mother, and “thus her vocation is powerfully impressed upon her.” 

“I deny that they establish for her a fixed and inevitable destiny”. Biology is not reason enough for male/female inequality, or grounds for woman being cast as ‘Other’, and her physicality does not condemn her to remain subordinate. Moreover, while animals can be studied as static organisms, it is much harder to make assessments of people as male or female human beings, since our sex does not define us in the way that it does other animals. 

 

I also looked at Comparitive psychology: Comparative psychology is the study of animals in order to find out about humans. The underlying assumption is that to some degree the laws of behavior are the same for all species and that therefore knowledge gained by studying rats, dogs, cats and other animals can be generalised to humans.

So I used toys from my own collection as a starting point:

I always thought that Bambi was female, but while paging through a book I noticed it’s a he! Also noteworthy is that my youngest son says there is a Bambi book at school, but “its for girls”

So please meet…

Bamboozle – Cotton and acrylic thread, rubber, polyester fiber filling, 61 x 20 x 5cm

BAMBOOZLE (title of the work below) and I like that the word means: to trick or deceive someone, often by confusing them 

No Action Hero – Cotton and acrylic thread, rubber, polyester fiber filling, 41 x 15 x 5 cm

NO ACTION HERO

In Old English sources, the word man was neuter. One of its meanings was similar to the modern English usage of “one” as a gender-neutral indefinite pronoun (compare with mankind (man + kind), which means the human race).

Inanna – Cotton and acrylic thread, rubber, polyester fiber filling, 46 x 13 x 5cm

INANNA

Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. She was later worshipped under the name Ishtar. The word Ishtar made me think of Easter hence the bunny(fertility), but Inanna’s most prominent symbol is actually the lion.  Inanna was believed to have stolen the mes, which represented all positive and negative aspects of civilization,

Inanna has become an important figure in modern feminist theory .  Simone de Beauvoir, in her book The Second Sex (1949), argues that Inanna, along with other powerful female deities from antiquity, have been marginalized by modern culture in favor of male deities

Inanna is also an important figure in modern BDSM culture. Author and historian Anne O. Nomis has cited the portrayal of Inanna in the myth of Inanna and Ebih as an early example of the dominatrix archetype, characterizing her as a powerful female who forces gods and men into submission to her.  (source consulted: Wikipedia)

Skunk- a- la – Nancy
Cotton and acrylic thread, rubber, polyester fiber filling, 53 x 17 x 5cm

SKUNK a la NANCY:

Her name is inspired by the band: Skunk Anansie : a “clit-rock” group, which Allmusic clarifies as “an amalgam of heavy metal and black feminist rage”

and Last but not least:

Pre-Her-Storic:

Pre-Her-Storic
Cotton and acrylic thread, rubber, polyester fiber filling,
32 x 40 x 5cm

The Awesome Womxn group-exhibition opens on the 2nd of August 2019.

 

 

 

 

The subversive f-word

Art portfolio- my work

Once in a while I treat myself.  Yesterday this treat arrived in the mail:

subversive sitch

In art school they taught us art history.  Since I taught myself to embroider I consider it a good idea to home-school myself in the history of embroidery.

On page 5 Rozsika Parker (the author of the above book) touches on the hierarchy of art/craft:

“The art/craft hierarchy suggests that art made with thread and art made with paint are intrinsically unequal:  that the former is artistically less significant.  But the real differences between the two are in terms of where they are made and who makes them.  Embroidery, by the time of the art/craft divide, was made in the domestic sphere, usually by women, for ‘love’.  Painting was produced predominantly, though not only, by men in the public sphere, for money.  The professional branch of embroidery, unlike that of painting, was, from the end of the seventeenth century to the end of the nineteenth century, largely in the hands of working-class women, or disadvantaged middle-class women.  Clearly there are huge differences between painting and embroider;’ different conditions of production and different conditions of reception.  But rather than acknowledging that needlework and painting are different but equal arts, embroidery and crafts associated with ‘the second sex’ or the working class are accorded lesser artistic value”

mmm….I’ll think about that.

This brings me to the f-word: Feminism….

“Moreover, because embroidery was supposed to signify femininity – docility, obedience, love of home, and a life without work – it showed the embroiderer to be a deserving, worthy wife and mother.  Thus the art played a crucial part in maintaining the class position of the household, displaying the value of a man’s wife and the condition of his economic circumstances…….Later the embroidery was blamed for the conflicts provoked in women by the femininity the art fostered.”  P 11 The Subversive Stitch.

I personally belief that a mother’s place is at home, with her children- at least for the first formative 5 years.  My own mother was a stay at home mom, but I’m sure she had dreams, because shortly after we were enrolled in primary school she started her own company and trained as a florist; but I’m grateful that she was at home in the beginning.

Quote from unknown book found in old journal

Quote from unknown book found in old journal

At the same time I dislike the fact that she was a very subordinate wife.

"I'm not a pushover" embroidery on rubber/inner tube in box frame

“I’m not a pushover” embroidery on rubber/inner tube in box frame

So before I become hysterical….lets move on from one f-word to another: “Freud”

“”By the end of the century, Freud was to decide that constant needle work was one of the factors that ‘rendered women particularly prone to hysteria’ because daydreaming over embroidery induced ‘dispositional hypnoid states.”  P12 the Subversive Stitch

I’m looking forward to see if this book will have an influence on my work and artist statement in the near future, but so far it’s a great read.