Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Being a Woman Artist.

I was invited to participate in a "Woman's Work" exhibition that opens next weekend in Roanoke at Katharos Art.  They asked me to write a paragraph about what it means for me to be a woman artist.  I hope they don't regret that decision. Hah!  I'm posting the piece and paragraph(s) here.  Enjoy!

On being a woman artist:

“We believe that feminism is a transformative philosophy that embraces the amelioration of life on earth for all life-forms, for all natural entities.  We believe that all oppressions are interconnected: no one creature will be free until all are free—from abuse, degradation, exploitation, pollution, and commercialization.”  --Josephine Donovan & Carol J. Adams in Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations

As a professional woman and artist, I am thankful for all the women that came before me and worked to bring the issues of women into the national dialogue.  That being said, I am not interested in being known as a “woman artist” and I have only the ladies who fought for feminism to thank for that.  I wish for my work to be viewed as good art, nothing more or less.  I feel privileged that gender does not need to be considered in the evaluation of my work, nor should it be for any other artist working day to day.  I believe that Feminism stretches far beyond women in general.  Feminism needs to fight for all creatures that are oppressed, as the highlighted quote from Josephine Donovan and Carol Adams expresses. 

There is still a bitch or two left in the fight for the rights of women and I am happy to be one of them.  Though we have been gaining ground, there is no time for rest.  The level of power our birth right affords us is dangerous.  I think this same danger is posed to women of my generation: what will we do with the power and comfort we did not earn? I believe we need to continue to work for the rights of all creatures, regardless of gender or species. 

And with that: a few lines of the poem “Song” by Edward Hirsch: “Listen, this song is for you even if you can’t listen to it or join in, even if you don’t have lungs, even if you don’t know what a song is or want to know.  This song is for everyone who is not listening tonight and refuses to sing.  Not singing is also an act of devotion.  Those who have no voices have one tongue.”  

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