Thursday, June 19, 2014

Looking at Looking at Your Questions

Can you be more specific when you say "subtle struggle" of living in a patriarchal world? How are you struggling specifically? Do you really feel that oppressed? 
Yes, I feel defined/confined from the outside, especially in the term, the role, mother. (Most often by my family.) Other times by the situations that do not allow for children (working mothers) in their space. 

What if there is no "outside", no "inside"...?
Could it be that you are dealing with family structure issues in relation to your own identity, and perhaps that's where you are feeling most confined? Also, why are you letting this role "define" you? I understand that your time at the VSC residency was less than ideal, but are there other environments where you would feel more supported in terms of bringing your children with you to work? And if not, why are you letting someone else's structure get under your skin like this? Is there something deeper that you may need to address...?

-What qualities about Nancy Spero's work do you identify with, and how are you actually protesting? How is leaving the sculptures on the ground a protest? 
I identify with her severed heads, her empathy and accuracy of emotion within those tiny heads that she did in response to the Vietnam war, seeing those media images of that war for the first time. 

empathy and accuracy of emotion ... those are really wonderful qualities in one's work. But perhaps she's pointing at the moon and you're looking at her finger...? Could there be another way to incorporate the empathy and accuracy of emotion, but translate into your own vocabulary...? I mean, if you're wanting to get angry, then get ANGRY and let that guide you. Look at Kara Walker, etc...

-What does your grandfather's molds have to do with Nigerian women exactly? What's the connection there?

I want to change patriarchy, one mold at a time, have my grandfather- who is just a stand in representative of patriarchy (although the reality was that he was the one who was gentle and kind throughout my childhood, and my grandmother who was the dictator.) But I want the definition of genders to shift. Patriarchy is passes on from thousands of generations.

Why do you want the definition of genders to shift?
A definition is just a man-made word that people agree has meaning.
It has no power over anything. If the idea of women's roles, or your role in particular in relation to Patriarchal hierarchy, is something that upsets you and you want to speak about, could it be that easy to just work from there? It seems like the way you are living your life with your husband and family is an excellent model of progressive living - outside of ascribed gender roles - that perhaps that naturalness could be conveyed through your work as well...?

The Greek general Meno wrote:
Let us take first the virtue of a man—he should know how to administer the state, and in the administration of it to benefit his friends and harm his enemies; and he must also be careful not to suffer harm himself. A woman's virtue, if you wish to know about that, may also be easily described: her duty is to order her house, and keep what is indoors, and obey her husband.”

That pisses me off as well. And I'm Greek, so that is literally part of my heritage. I found that statement to be true when I visited my family there for the first time when I was 15. It was during that summer when I knew I was a feminist without knowing that the term "feminst" was. I just knew that that structure of oppression of women was NOT OK. Years later, I read the book WET, which helped deconstruct a lot of ... everything really regarding gender roles and the history of  gender-based language that "we" take for granted. It might be a good read for you too.

It is this mentality that binds the Nigerian girls today.

All of us are responsible for perpetuating "this mentality".
It's like that saying: we are the problem and we are the solution.

-Why is it important to highlight the method of documentation? Why is enlarging the images important to you? What about impermanence gives you hope, and what does that have to do with protesting patriarchy?

The idea of impermanence is crucial as it means that patriarchy cannot do anything but change. 

Exactly. Everything changes, decomposes, transforms. If this is an aspect that gives you hope, how can you work with it in relation to how angry the situation makes you? Can you work from a transformative place? 

The enlargement means that the girls receive the presence they deserve. 
I understand what you are saying...but to me, your statement feels like you're speaking for others. "receive the presence they deserve" you really mean you'd like to recapture a presence that you think you deserve, and are using the Nigerian women as a vehicle or metaphor for what you want for yourself? I'm trying to figure out what's really going on here.... If you need to be angry, then get angry and communicate that with empathy and accuracy of emotion. The statement feels like you're wanting to speak about something HUGE and not realizing that your own story might be the biggest gold you can ever wish for. I would encourage you to keep going with this, figure it out by working more and more and more. You may be working on a 3D mind map via this piece - keep it going! I'm so curious to see what comes next

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