The creative commute to Southern California continues. Saturday was the second panel discussion and reception for the It’s Time exhibit at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) in Santa Ana. The curation examined the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements through various mediums including installations, objects, prints, graphics, photography, sculptures, paintings, and drawings. My artwork NOT YOUR SEX OBJECT was part of the exhibition.
It’s Time juror Anuradha Vikram impressive experience spans from the de Young museum to the Mills College Art Museum. She is currently a senior lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design and College Art Association Board of Directors member. From the OCCCA website, Vikram: “Political times call for political art. The past year has shown that women’s voices will not be silenced, no matter how hard the patriarchy digs in its heels. Artists have heard the call to speak up against structural violence and oppression. The urgency and candor of their work reflects that of this important cultural moment.”
NOT YOUR SEX OBJECT description: My art practice investigates symbols of influence that impact perception. A standard trucker mud flap has been repurposed altering its function. When Donald J. Trump became President he was greeted with the Women’s March, confronted by sexual abuse victims, and ultimately ignited the #metoo revolution. The structures of gender objectification are interwoven into systemic discrimination and consumerism. Women are not sex objects or empty silhouettes. We must reject and reclaim cultural symbols.
In addition to the exhibit, the OCCCA featured a panel discussion with Anuradha Vikram, Miliana Singh (LGBT Center OC Health Care and Transgender Services Coordinator), Karla Estrada (UndocuTravelers founder), Brenda Guiterrez (ME TOO March International founder), Laura Kanter (LGBT Center OC Director of Policy, Adovacy and Youth Programs), Ashley Obregon (The Healing Project), and Jenny Lynn. From the OCCCA website: “This second panel will shift focus and serve as a ‘Beyond #MeToo’ discussion where we will deconstruct the tenets of the patriarchy that contribute to rape culture and misogyny, we will address the concepts of Toxic Masculinity, Internalized Patriarchy, Fuck Boys, the role that the Internet, technology, & exposure to porn at a young age in our society effects how the youth are socialized to view sexuality & gender roles, & how we can better introduce and socialize teens about their sexuality…”
Exhibition highlights included #YoTambien by Lisette Morales, Women Under Siege by Mariona Barkus, and Onwards by Veronica An. Barkus addresses the war on women, Morales the depth, and An the profound wisdom for the future. From Morales’ Women Under Seige statement: “Let’s not forget people of color who identify as women. Let’s not forget this movement was started by a black woman. Let’s not pretend women and transgender of color continue are under attack more than ever.”
Meanwhile, Jennifer Noland’s Barren of Hope stitches Margaret Atwood’s quote from The Handmaid’s Tale into the viewer’s consciousness. In Ashley Gibbons’ Good Girl, hand embroidery becomes repurposed into a powerful feminist tool. Jessy Lu’s Not for your consumption description states: “Images of home prepared meals and domestic labor obscured by the act of embroidery as manual resistance.” Noland, Gibbons, and Lu reconstruct ‘traditional’ materials into powerful feminist statements on reality.
Recently, John Oliver from Last Week Tonight interviewed Anita Hill who testified in televised hearings in 1991 that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her. Hill declared: “I am feeling more optimistic than I was 27 years ago…If we do nothing, then change is not going to come.” At least sixteen women have accused President Donald J. Trump of sexual harassment or assault. Has society and culture changed? The It’s Time exhibit delivers uncensored truth one creative action at a time.
It’s Time. Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. Santa Ana, CA. July 7-August 11, 2018.