nevertheless: She Persisted @ Durango Arts Center

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“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

“I was born and raised in Garland, Texas; a manufacturing-based suburb of Dallas. My parents’ heritage is rooted south of the US border: my mother was born in Allende located in Coahuila, Mexico. My father, born in Santa Maria, Texas, grew up in Tampico situated within Tamaulipas, Mexico. The tenacity of my eight aunts in the face of personal tragedies and adversities was an early inspiration; their narratives contributed to my embrace of feminist ideology.” Rosemary Meza-DesPlas currently lives in Farmington, New Mexico. The cornerstone of her artwork is the female experience within a patriarchal society. As a woman, daily navigation of our world is a precarious tight-rope walk. The use of portraiture to discuss gender-based burdens personalizes the political. Intricate drawings are created by meticulous stitching of human hair. The dichotomy of human hair, depending upon context, is it can be engaging or off-putting: long, luxurious hair is sexy, but a hair in one’s soup is unappealing. Meza-DesPlas seduces the viewer with elegant, sensual marks of hair. Thematically, her artworks advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Through on-site drawing installations and watercolor paintings, Meza-DesPlas evokes intellectual and visceral responses to socio-cultural burdens endured by women; these burdens and their subsequent impact on contemporary culture are interpreted through a global lens. She earned a MFA from Maryland Institute, College of Art (Hoffberger School of Painting) and a BFA from the University of North Texas. Her artwork has been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Her work has been written about in several publications including the Huffington Post, Dallas Morning News, The Durango Herald, Wall Street International, and Interview Magazine. Ms. Meza-DesPlas parallels the themes in her visual artwork with the written word and spoken word performances.

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