#PetalsAndGrime, Intentional this IWM.

Last year, I became an art educator. This eventually led to me into the world of art history, something that deeply fascinates and guides me to this day. It is in history where we find how our present is shaped. Through my preachings and my studies, I came to notice the absolute lack of women artists in art movements throughout history. Mind you, there were a myriad of paintings portraying women subjects made by men, but not specifically women artists making paintings to study and take awe from. There were the constants: Frida Kahlo, Geogia O'Kaffe, Leonara Carrington, Gentileschi Artemisia. Constants in most history books, placed in with reservations. The first 3 came out during the 20th century. Artemisia was from the Baroque period, 16th century. In the midst of all the movements I studied and taught, I had to pause and wonder: "Where are the women artists? Surely, in between the 16th and 20th centuries, women somehow existed in the art world aside from being mere subjects? Were they too busy doing something else? Were they off fighting wars?" I was deeply perplexed. Known to my students as the "Jesus feminist teach", I wanted to tell my students stories of women artists in history. As a developing artist myself, I wanted to find someone else from the past that made a mark in the art world, aside from, you know, Frida Kahlo. (I love her, by the way).


What Happened: Women artists have intentionally been omitted out of history, and therefore, out of the art world. Historical findings have discovered stories of women artists always, always, always in the shadow of male artists, the ones we study about in the books today. There are even stories that claim that some infamous male artists may have stolen some work from women in order to claim their "legacy." In a Renaissance painting by El Greco entitled, "The Disrobing of Christ" (1577-79), the women subjects (lower left) present in the painting and in the actual story were considered "scandalous" by the Spanish priests and demanded the women be omitted. These are the stories of women in history. 

Today, contemporary art aims to reclaim those stories, and to forge new ones.

This is what Women's Month represents in the art world. For other sectors like Science or Business, this call to reclaim women in history and to actively rise in the present is a familiar song we all sing. It is what we need to commemorate and participate in. There's this concept called, "developmental art," where all can participate in shaping the contemporary, and therefore, make history. In the questioning of our existence in this world, the art we bring forth to life, overall contributes to the development of our culture as a whole. These are the makings of history, whether we realize it or not. Hence, this little feminism art challenge, called"Petals and Grime."

Petals, to represent the beauty and wonder of what it means to be a woman. 
Grime, to represent the horrors, the stereotypes, the burdens that patriarchal, sexist society has placed on women. 

Both are realities; both make up the truths of our beings. 
In the acknowledgment of both tensions, we make a story that is comprised ofwholeness; that does not deny our own histories, and therefore, does not deny our presence in this present world. 

I hope this month not just engages our creativity, but also, uses our personal stories to express that very creativity, so that our truths can be told. They say that Women's Day shouldn't just be limited to just one day, and that is very true. This month, I hope we can intentionally contemplate our lives as women and the lives of other women, create Filipino feminist stories, and celebrate them together.

May this be the start of your visual feminist story, serving as documentation to your intentional living a life as a feminist.  

For participants, tag @womancreate on Instagram or use the hashtags, #PetalsandGrime and #30DaysofFeminism, so I can repost your daily works and contemplations on the Woman, Create page.

P.S. Yes, you can start late. But be sure to start at Day 1!

Everyone should be feminists.

#PetalsAndGrime #30DaysofFeminism

#PetalsAndGrime #30DaysofFeminism

#PetalsAndGrime #30DaysofFeminism

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