The Woman Project is a group of RI artists and activists formed in 2016 by members of Hera Gallery and community members to use art as a catalyst for Women's Reproductive Freedom. The Woman Project is exhibiting parts of their Petition Quilt, which was used to help codify abortion rights into RI law in our 5th anniversary exhibition The Fifth Decade. On February 21st as part of the talk for the exhibition, "Hera, Artist Cooperatives and Social Justice", The Womxn Project will present their Quilt to the Pembroke Center Archives at Brown University.
Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.
The Womxn Project (TWP) is a statewide organization dedicated to building a strong movement that harnesses the power of art, activism, and advocacy. We believe that together we can dismantle systems of oppression and uplift the voices of people in our communities throughout Rhode Island in order to shift power and shape the policies that impact our lives and the lives of our neighbors.
TWP wields the power of art as an instrument of change. TWP believes that art can make public important information, push forward critical conversations, progress political work, and inspire ground-swelling social action.
The TWP story is one of organic growth, sprouting from hope and determination and powered by art and community-strengthened commitment. TWP’s initial mission (to codify the rulings of Roe V Wade into Rhode Island state law) was inspired by the Hera Gallery’s community meetings in 2016-2017 through the Creating Together series. The Hera Gallery has served as both a community hub and inspirational network for the organization.
What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?
The Petition Quilt is the product of thousands of voices of Rhode Island residents and hundreds of labor hours from volunteers state-wide. It is a symbol of the massive support for safe and legal reproductive healthcare in RI. We hope viewers, like us, take the time to appreciate not only the individualized squares that showcase the real voices and lives of passionate Rhode Islanders but also marvel with gratitude at the craftspersonship and love that binds the quilt together into its epic size.
We also hope that the quilt inspires folks to introspectively wonder which of their own personal talents, skills, or gifts that they hold within themselves could be creatively used as a tool to make the world a better place. We all hold a unique and valuable power potential inside each of us; what actions, resources, and perspectives might you personally be able to volunteer to the work and missions that exist around you and overlap with your passion? What power might we invent if we all dared to become inspired together?
What influences your work? Why?
Art is a powerful way to communicate human experience, thoughts, and ideas. Throughout history artists have created work to address political, cultural, and social issues relevant to their time and place. Within The Womxn Project Educational Fund, we engage ARTivism as a method to look for new ways to disrupt the political system, change the conversations, and move beyond traditional paradigms of activism.
What does it mean to you to participate in Hera, either as an artist member OR as an exhibiting artist?
Central to The Hera Gallery are three principles: Rhode Island spirit, generational love, and artistic power. TWP is moved by all of these core ideas and is energized to be a part of this show at this moment in RI history.