She We They: The Women’s Show

The making of a show about women has been on the radar for many years. This exhibit represents a slice of our small piece of the world, and what ‘we’ have done and are doing as part of a larger whole

2018 Mar 12 – 2018 May 27

Curated by Arin Fay

The making of a show about women has been on the radar for many years. 

It is not a ground-breaking idea, and to the contrary, it is a subject that has found voice in myriad enterprise over the years both here in the Kootenays and beyond. The Mildred Erb Gallery put a Women’s Show together in 1990; the Nelson and District Women’s Centre and Canadian Federation of University Women have hosted events for decades, The Kootenay Feminism website is an endless source of inspiration, as is the work of other organizations and individuals over the years. There is a symbiotic and beautiful building of voice, dialog and awareness which contributes to this topic of such universal importance at this particular moment in time. 

From the endeavors of activists, artists and organizations to the quiet pursuits of individuals living their lives with passionate purpose, what is daunting about coalescing the myriad experiences of so many under one banner is that the feminist movement is made up of a diverse and fiercely passionate demographic of people bent on affecting change. This change is not cohesive or easily quantified, nor should it be. “My feminism is not your feminism” is an oft-heard and relevant refrain. There are waves and nuances, evolutions of thought and expression which define the ongoing struggle for change. 

The genesis of this exhibit involved considerable effort to reach out to the community, and my only regret as a curator is that we were not able to include even more perspectives.

She. We. They: The Women Show is a community-curated project and every effort was made to include as much contributed content as possible. These ideas and events are seen on the top portion of the timeline, illustrating a more personalized realization of the evolution of the women’s movement, set in contrast and association with the more global timeline on the bottom half of the installation. It is my hope that the timeline gives context to larger issues, while at the same time humanizing the efforts women make on a daily basis here in the Kootenays and elsewhere in the world. These are just some of the stories, each one representing hundreds and thousands more …. 

The title is a story in itself, and as those who have been involved in this project over the past many months are aware, the working title started out as ‘Hear us Roar.’ This title did not work for everyone, and was changed after much interesting and persistent discussion. The most memorable comment was that ‘Hear us Roar’ was not so much a Suffragette rallying cry but a question: can you – do you – will you – please – hear us roar? Not only do we not want to end all our conversations with a question, but there was also the thought that the Suffragette movement, however important and powerful, was the franchise of white women of a fairly predictable demographic, which again creates exclusionary connotations. She. We. They. works because the pronouns are both specific and inclusive. ‘She’ is singular and obvious, ‘We’ connotes community and ‘They’ speaks not only to a new way of understanding and addressing individuals but also to give credence to what has gone before; they were a matriarchal society before the word was coined. ‘They’ just were time immemorial. 

The convergence of art, history and community aspects of She. We. They: The Women Show is illustrated in photographs, but also in facts, figures and feedback. There are also means to add content via Instagram, an old school chalkboard wall and comment book. 

This exhibit represents a slice of our small piece of the world, and what ‘we’ have done and are doing as part of a larger whole. I hope people come away feeling that they are part of something important. Vive la Révolution! 

She We They
She We They

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