The content in this exhibit will necessarily engage with issues such as domestic and gender-based violence, sexual assault, racism, and body autonomy. Much of it may be emotionally and intellectually challenging to engage with. Some pieces of art in this exhibit display non-pornographic nudity which is not intended to create a sexual response in the viewer. Please do not project your ideas of meaning onto these artworks but rather read the artist statements and take time to understand their messages, their humanity, and their experiences. There is some graphic or intense content that discusses or represents sexual assault and issues of racism here. This gallery is a safe space where we can engage bravely, empathetically, and thoughtfully with difficult content, while also exploring what empowerment looks like. Feel free to leave at any time should you feel uncomfortable. Racist, sexist, and/or homophobic behavior is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.
THIS IS A SAFE SPACE PLEASE: Be aware of your prejudices, bias, and insecurities. Consider how your words might affect someone. Provide room for each of us to explore our own identities. Allow others to define their own identities and to speak for themselves.
CURATOR’S STATEMENT: How do we move away from exploitation and empower ourselves and others? Unfortunately, the answer to this question has been one-sided and gendered for centuries. In EvE: Empowerment vs. Exploitation, our goal is to offer an environment for artists and viewers to explore new ways of communicating about these issues.
This is an exhibit that reaches beyond “women’s empowerment” and previously white-washed feminist representation. It is not enough to look at the issues that plague women as a whole throughout history, we have to dig deeper, looking at gender in spectrum and the ongoing impacts of colonialism. There are many liminal or third space perspectives that go unnoticed because they do not fit the larger narrative. Likewise, gender-based violence and rape culture have been normalized while feminine representation is often villainized.
As we speak out against patriarchal norms and colonialism, two systems that support one another and rely on the oppression of women and people of color, we broaden conversations about what it means to be given or not given agency. We look at how toxic masculinity has shaped expectations of gender, bodies, sexuality, and behavior, allowing new language and definitions to emerge. As you explore Eve: Empowerment vs. Exploitation, I hope you’ll be filled with a sense of awe, gazing towards the eve of a more equitable society. The body of work here is beautiful and intimate, energizing and startling, collaborative and engrossing. These are artistic inquiries negotiating what it means to be trans, queer, bi-racial, women of color, and men grappling with toxic masculinity. These are reflections from survivors. These are calls to action for agency and liberation in an intersectional feminism that aims to lift all those who are fighting against oppression. Allow yourself to be moved, to understand the deeper reflections of each artist, and take time to review what you consider to be empowering or exploitative. #timesup and #metoo have given voice to many who were previously silenced, but what does it look like away from the male gaze of Hollywood? How did Tarana Burke envision the impact of the #metoo campaign when she initiated it in 2006, before the mad craze of hashtag culture? How do we explore it in our communities rather than on the internet? Most importantly, what does empowerment look like to traditionally silenced individuals?