nevertheless: She Persisted @ Durango Arts Center

Crop Wall DrawingIMG_4790IMG_4798IMG_4829IMG_4811IMG_5744IMG_4941IMG_4809IMG_5756IMG_5753IMG_5746

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and  deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens” First Lady Michelle  Obama.

The title of this exhibition “nevertheless: She Persisted” refers to a phrase by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In defense of silencing Senator Elizabeth Warren, McConnell said, ““Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Subsequently, the phrase was embraced on social media and became a battle cry for women across the U.S. in 2017. Women did not want to be told — to sit down and stop talking.

The works in this exhibition are grouped into categories to reflect gender-based burdens. These are hardships disproportionately shouldered by women in society. These gender-based burdens include gender-based violence, political inequality and gender-based-poverty. This weight hauled by women can have a palpable physical existence or take on a psychological shape of enormous proportions. Many women live day-to-day hindered by gender-based burdens; yet, they continue to persist.

The goal of “nevertheless: She Persisted” is to raise awareness of gender-based burdens. By fore-fronting gender-based burdens, inequities surrounding violence, poverty and politics and their impact on women can continue to be highlighted and discussed. Ongoing visibility of these issues is a necessity in order for change to occur – whether it manifests in small steps or larger advancements.

Author: rosemarymezadesplas

Farmington, NM-based Latina artist, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas is known for exploring gender, sexuality, and identity issues through hand-sewn human hair drawings, watercolors and on-site drawing installations. She received an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA from The University of North Texas. Ms. Meza-DesPlas has been sewing with her own hair since 2000. Her decision to collect and sort hair to utilize as a vehicle for making art is informed by socio-cultural symbolism, feminism, body image, and religious symbolism. An article on her hand-sewn human hair drawings was featured in the Huffington Post Arts & Culture section in 2015. Meza-DesPlas’ most recent drawings incorporate her gray hair. In 2019, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas was featured in Santa Fe, NM’s the/magazine as “12 Artists in New Mexico to Know Now”. Ms. Meza-DesPlas parallels the themes in her artwork with the written word and spoken word performances. In 2018, she presented the academic paper Reclaiming the Tool of Anger: Year of the Angry Women at the 9th International Conference of the Image in Hong Kong. Ms. Meza-DesPlas’ recent spoken word performances were at the Feminist Art Conference, Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto, Canada; Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM; ARC Gallery in Chicago, IL and the Durango Arts Center in Durango, CO.

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