• irenevillasenor

Reception tonight for the Metropolitan Review

Since some people couldn't attend tonight's event, here's my remarks:

Hello everyone. I’d like to thank the editorial team at the Metropolitan Review for this opportunity to be published. My essay “Overcoming Barriers Against Women’s Artistic Production” starts on page 98. I’d also like to thank Professor Betty Wilde-Biasiny, from the Visual Art, Art History, Museum Studies department because this essay was submitted for her Issues in Contemporary Art class.

It’s the first research paper I wrote in college and I wanted to use this assignment as an opportunity to solve a problem I’ve struggled with for a long time: how to overcome the external obstacles and personal blocks to creativity that made it difficult to be an artist. Even though I studied art for years independently and at numerous schools and museums, I had so many negative experiences with harsh instructors, sexist male classmates, competitive women classmates, and encounters with famous male artists who sexually harassed me that I questioned whether I should identify as an artist or even continue to make art anymore.

After working on my fourth documentary I moved into arts administration and curatorial work for several years so I could still be connected to the arts. But when I enrolled at SUNY Empire State College, I had some hope I could return to my arts practice even though I still felt a great amount of discouragement. A tiny part of me believed it was possible to regain the joy I felt at creating beautiful and elegant images and words. So I set out to uncover how women could build the internal beliefs and values that would enable them to be artists throughout their lives. I spent a couple of months researching feminist art history, pedagogy, and psychology to find useful insights to answer this question, which is contained in the essay.

If you are interested in having a deeper experience while reading my essay, I encourage you to visit the the Brooklyn Museum of Art to see the Dinner Party exhibit by Judy Chicago, which is the centerpiece of the museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. But even if you don’t visit this installation I hope you find some useful if not, inspirational ideas on how to maintain and protect creativity in your life.

Working on this essay has been a transformational experience for me. While at Empire I went on to study digital printmaking which resulted in an invitation to study last year with Natalia Almada, a MacArthur Genius Award-winning filmmaker and photographer, during my first artist residency and invitations to participate in upcoming exhibitions.

One additional result from working on this essay is that I’ve found that I enjoy using art history to solve problems. I will be presenting another essay I wrote for a class taught by Professor Betty Wilde-Biasiny at the Student Academic conference later this month in Albany. A Call for Epistemological Diversity: A Comparison and Contrast of Indigenous Headdresses from the Karajá (Brazil) and Yup´ik (Alaska) Communities,” which will be on Saturday, October 22nd from 2:45-3:30pm, will use art history as an entry point to discuss the key roles Indigenous communities play in environmentalism due to spending thousands of years developing knowledge of how to be stewards of the earth. Now the looming climate change refugee crisis and clashes over natural resources on their ancestral lands put them at the forefront of contemporary environmental struggles. During this presentation we will definitely discuss the current protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has attracted the support of indigenous communities around the world but has suffered a media blackout. I hope you can join us. Thank you again for this opportunity.

#arthistory #events

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