“At the end of the day, I see the artwork as an act of protest in its own right,” gallery director and artist Indira Cesarine said.
A New York gallery called The Untitled Space celebrates women’s anger and resilience in a series of protest pieces titled Uprise/The Angry Women. The show centers the artists’ responses to the “social and political climate in America in light of the presidential election upset.”
“At the end of the day, I see the artwork as an act of protest in its own right,” gallery director and artist Indira Cesarine told the New York Times.
“Right now it is [an] important time for women to demonstrate solidarity in face of the threats upon us in regards to women’s rights. The 2016 presidential election has brought to the surface extremes of sexism, racism and discrimination. Many women are deeply disturbed not only by the negative stereotyping and sexist attitudes toward women that have surfaced, but also the threats to roll back women’s rights. The exhibit gives female artists a means to express themselves in regard to the social and political climate in America and empower others with their visual imagery. … Right now, more than ever, women need to unify and work together to ensure that our rights, which were fought for with blood and tears for many decades, are not only assured, but continue to progress,” Cesarine says.
Uprise is the beautiful result of an open call for feminist art. With a whopping 1,800 entries, the show has been painstakingly whittled down to 80 artists whose pieces are a reflection of the current political climate.
The 80-woman art show has been curated by Cesarine in partnership with the Era Coalition, a political organization that is working to support passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Fund For Women’s Equality.
“The anger, frustration and sadness of women and minorities is largely overlooked and dismissed,” artist Maggie Dunlap tells Broadly. “We are often not taken seriously, or gaslighted into feeling like our emotions are unfounded and should be suppressed. I believe this exhibition challenges those ideas by defiantly asserting our right to be mad as hell — and even use emotions that are usually coded as ‘weak,’ such as grief, as tools of protest.”
“Post-Trump’s victory, many of us are hearing that we need to understand the anger of Trump voters. Blamed for Trump’s win, Black Lives Matter and feminists activists in particular have been singled out for distracting from the ‘real issues’ in America with our ‘identity politics,'” Cliteracy artist Sophie Wallace says.
“Apparently, being racially profiled, brutalized by police, sexually assaulted, paid less for the same work, and denied agency over our reproduction are […] just cause for anger. Meanwhile, the proud anger of the Tea Party movement galvanized the conservative base. So whose anger is valorized and whose is spurned? This is an interesting question.”
“My mother has a nasty temper and as the flames of her fury rose, mine did too, and I learned that I couldn’t fight fire with fire,” photographer Parker Day tells Broadly. “But what is repressed must find a way to be expressed. I think anger is useful but it’s a fuel that must be handled with great care. Often when anger is directed against an opposing force, it causes its opposition to fight back harder. I believe anger can be channeled in such a way that it gives strength to people, and to a cause.”
“Anger is useful because it makes me want to tell people they should be angry too, and maybe we can focus our energy together to change what makes us angry,” Natalie White a multi-media artist in Uprise explains. “This world is far from easy. If you aren’t angry about something, you aren’t paying attention.”
In honor of the 44th anniversary of Roe vs Wade, The Untitled Space is presenting an artist talk on “art as activism” and the future of women’s rights during the Trump/Pence administration. Participating artists include Ann Lewis, Annika Connor, Audrey Lyall, Cinnamon Willis, Daniela Raytchev, Jackie Maidenfed, Indira Cesarine, Maggie Dunlap, Rose McGowan and Sophia Wallace.
Artist, actress, and director Rose McGowan will be debuting her short film, Woman’s Womb. McGowan was inspired by the story of Purvi Patel, the 36-year-old jailed for feticide in Indiana after self-inducing a late abortion. Patel has since seen her original 20-year sentence reduced and the feticide charge vacated, but she is still serving prison time for a Class D felony. Her life has been turned upside down and tax dollars are being wasted to imprison a woman who performed her own abortion because of lack of access to a safe, legal alternative.
“We must get angry, be angry, and stay angry to see true change. Playing nice hasn’t exactly gotten us equality, has it?” McGowan says.
Uprise/Angry Women is on view at the The Untitled Space in NYC from January 17-28.
Twenty-five percent of every purchase from the exhibit will be dedicated toward ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.
For a complete list of artists, check out The Untitled Space’s website.