Memorial alumni establish feminist art show
When you don’t know all the rules, breaking them is a lot easier.
That’s the approach Zaren Healey White and a dedicated group of volunteers took when planning Feminisms (Re)Framed, an art show that took place at Gallery 24 in St. John’s from July 18-19.
“It all came together pretty quickly,” said Ms. White, who is both an alumna and current Master of Gender studies student at Memorial. “Part of the reason is that we’ve never done an art show before and maybe that’s why we’re breaking all the rules. We formed a committee back in March and advertised for submissions for a month and had a huge influx by the deadline. People say it can take weeks just to decide where to hang things – we’ve already got a plan and are setting up on Saturday morning. It’s a really collaborative effort with a lot of dedicated people making it happen. I’m very excited about it.”
The inspiration for the show comes from Ms. White’s personal interests and current program of study, the latter touching on the analysis of feminist art and how it communicates aspects of feminism. As an amateur artist, she also saw a need to showcase work and artists who haven’t been able to access that opportunity. The two passions came together naturally in the genesis of this show.
“For this exhibit we were looking for art that in any way engages with, examines, challenges, or responds to some aspect of feminism, feminist work or learning. If you consider historically how challenging it has been for women to access gallery space, and the lack of awareness of women artists in general, just helping amateur or hobby artists get into a gallery is itself a feminist act.”
Ms. White’s hope for the show is two-fold. She wants to help advance careers and build the confidence of artists who are participating in the show as well allow the public to engage with feminist art and reflect on what it means.
“We’re hoping to inform the community but also really help the artists network and build up their art practice,” she said. “In terms of the public experience, I’d like this show to provide a sense of how art can help express social challenges, struggles and experiences that people have in the world, particularly from a feminist perspective.”
The show featured more than 40 contributors and 38 different exhibits, including short films, painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, screen printed t-shirts, a found art installation, photography and poetry. More information is available online.