a womanifesto of sorts (2018)

fabric, embroidery floss, wooden frame

11 in. x 38 in. X 1.5 in.

on the first day of art history class we were asked “what is art?” i answered “everything” with a disclaimer that i knew that wasn’t the answer our instructor was looking for & chuckles followed.

the thing is, i was being serious. i understand people’s desire to label & define things. to me, though, it isn’t about what art is, it’s about what art does.

i believe in magic in many forms & i believe art is a form of magic. it has the power to do more than we realize: 

teach
challenge
delight
disgust
empower
decorate
anger
trigger
enlighten
embellish
represent
conceptualize

(to name a few)

i don’t believe all of art’s powers are equal in importance, but i also don’t believe in dictating what art power people utilize or what “the right way” to use art’s magic is.

i can speak for myself, though. i use two particular powers of art: healing & igniting.

i use art selfishly to heal myself. i pull from my identity & the experiences that shape it & in the process of making something based off of these experiences i reflect, work out, & come to terms with them. i reclaim them in the same way that i simultaneously reclaim fibrous materials equated with a strict set of guidelines for womanhood.

during this process, i try to do something unselfish. by pushing myself to be vulnerable & open during this healing, i try to connect with others. i try to share experiences that i know i’m not alone in in the hopes of bringing attention to not only my identity, but also the identity of others. i want to ignite conversations, spark change.

all great movements start with a conversation & who’s to say that can’t be started by a piece of art? there are politics surrounding art & accessibility that we can’t ignore & i won’t pretend they don’t impact this, but i think we need to open our perception of art & create pieces that don’t solely exist in a gallery or a museum. we must use word of mouth, publications, the internet, & any other channel we can to spread it. & sometimes the audiences who need to acknowledge these experiences & issues are in the galleries & museums too. it starts with just one person seeing a piece then spreads.

the world’s issues are a big problem to chew off.  sometimes i wonder if i’m doing enough to try & tackle them – should i stop what I’m doing & become a politician or a lawyer or a full-time activist to try & make a bigger difference? but then i think, i want to do what i love & what heals me & i believe that that can also be used to heal others & make a change. i’ve seen art do this firsthand. it’s personal, but the personal is so so political.

-a womanifesto of sorts, part of a much larger conversation