YOUR IDENTITY IS IN CRISIS
Remember way back in the beginning of the year when a huge, historical event took place called the Women's March? It sparked a lot of the same types of questions and conversations we've heard circulating over and over since then. A tremendous amount of fear, anger, confusion, and urgency is surging through most women right now, and rightfully so. EQUALITY. FEMINISM. RESIST. These are words we use frequently, but more and more, I get the feeling that what people have really been struggling with since the election is identity crisis.
A sketch I did at the Women's March.
Our identity crisis is aggravated in particular by a major capitalist necessity of the day, that crucial tool that no company, individual, or political movement can do without: branding. Everyone's looking for an identity and a brand to align themselves with. White, hetero-normative women are especially confused because for most of our lives we've equated our rights and feminism with individual belief instead of something that is collective, objective, and tangible.
Brushwork: Feminism. Ink on bristol, 15" x 12". 2016
The identity crisis of women demanding full equality, autonomy, and representation is playing out all over social media. I don't see it in the loud shouting matches of Twitter, oversimplified memes, or think pieces so much as I see it in the realm of domestic spaces online. Pictures of immaculately curated bedrooms and living spaces flourish on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. Each picture has its own brand, aesthetic, and competitive edge. Plants and succulents propagate themselves throughout the internet with a speed and efficiency that puts the Wandering Jew (racist name for the plant Zebrina Pendula) to shame, so much so that houseplants have become a trendy craze.
My Jade Plant. Ink on watercolor paper, 12" x 9". 2016
Plants and nature are ripe with metaphor for just about every circumstance (see what I did there?). It's as true today as it was many thousands of years ago. When we apply those metaphors to the connections society makes between women and nature, the backlog of baggage is enormous. Women make up half of society, and the connections that are made between ourselves, between nature, and between identity are all featured themes that I'll be working with in my upcoming show. It'll be a good one so don't miss out.
A Mexican proverb on a protest sign from the Women's March. Image taken from Unitarian Universalist Association.