WOMANISH Exhibit Lands With a Splash In Chicago
Written by Vocalo Radio on September 4, 2020
On Thursday September 3 a new exhibition launched in the heart of downtown at 114 S. State Street.
WOMANISH is an immersive 5 floor exhibition that explores the identity and perspectives of women and gender non-confirming people.
The exhibition, which is following the strictest Covid guidelines, is now open to the public. We were blown away by the scale and innovation displayed by the WOMANISH team. From floor to floor the 16 immersive installations provoke thoughts about cultural inclusivity, gender discrimination, self-care, and imagination.
Each area of the exhibition frames a different issue related to female or gender non-conforming identity. While they tackle heavy topics, the exhibitions also carry a joy and playfulness. From Claudia Chanoi’s tongue in cheek artistic exploration of the female form in Censoredish, to Brianna Beckham’s insertion of women of color into old school advertisements in Consumerish the art leaves one feeling enlightened, but also deeply hopeful.
Here’s Vocalo’s exclusive sneak preview at what’s in store in the installations …
After entering the exhibition the first area we find ourselves in is Censoredish, which illuminates the ways media apply unfair and unequal standards to the female form, and how that bias contributes to systematic patriarchy. The installation does this playfully, with paintings from Korean artist Claudia Chanoi and scented fruit that creates interesting questions about how hegemonic society decides what signs and signifiers are censored.
The exhibition is perhaps at some of its most effective in Consumerish, where artist Brianna Beckham illustrates the concept of “pink tax” – the immense markup that is reflected in products are marketed to Womxn. Consumerish unboxes identity stereotypes that are taxing, as the WOMANISH team wrote “We have pieced together that we are a product of our own consumption and have the receipts to make things transparent, period.”
A perfect dovetail with Consumerish, where we learned that womxn pay more than men nearly 42% of the time, in Paidish we are reminded that women make 20-3-% less on thier paychecks. Womxn of color see an even larger pay gap of 30+% ! The call to action here on this floor is simple: “We want our 30%.”
Childish is a daydream without boundaries. This floor is one of the most whimsical and fun in the whole experience. With swing sets, remote control cars and lemonade stands, this floor is all about the nostalgia trip. It’s a precious opportunity to connect with ones inner child, a true treat and a welcome bit of whimsy in such a challenging time.
As beautifully summarized in the WOMANISH team’s explanation of this piece “We see ourselves clearly when we least expect it. Like a rainbow, perspectives appear and then they vanish.” This perspective bending maze is something you just have to experience in person.
We feed our soul here in the garden as we stop, pause and embrace the appreciation and gratitude that’s natural in life.
Black Womxn are celebrated in this powerful installation that includes breathtaking 3-D hair artwork by Tyler Clark, who is a Christian faith-based artist that creates multi-dimensional pieces offering representation for black women. Through Tyler’s work we see a snapshot of the many facets of how Black Womxn wear their hair, and the magic that exists therein.
Based around the bones of a D-I-Y salon, Selfish encourages expanding the definitions of self-care and returns agency to the individual, filing down the negative connotations associated with the idea of being “selfish.” Featured artist Armani Barron art directed this section of the experience.
● Amanda Harth created a light installation promoting public safety for womxn at night.
● Angela Palomba and Indra Andrekhak pushed the boundary for womxn in the hospitality industry and adding charm to the 1950’s era diner entrance.
● Ariana Bailey created photo-worthy installations that comment on the connection between fantasy and reality; sanity and normality in “Moodyish”.
● Armani Barron (NYC) curated art direction of the Selfish Salon, with her own custom-designed elements.
● Brianna Beckham curated and designed a printed collage mural bringing contemporary direction to advertising, ensuring women of color are present among old school advertising tactics in “Consumerish”.
● Claudia Chanhoi (Hong Kong) created original artwork printed on canvas featured in “Censoredish”.
● Jae Rice created a custom soundscape for each concepted “ISH”.
● Jane Georges produced a lot of the scenic elements throughout the entire venue via her -more- newly launched female-owned creative production company.
● Nina Palomba painted a mural in the 1950’s diner entrance.
● Pariss Garner created an interactive mirror installation of affirmations.
● Tyler Clark hung an original one-of-a-kind mixed media paintings in the Selfish Lobby.
● Lily McLaughlin photographed a group of Chicagoans for the 55’ vinyl banner that has dropped on the venue’s exterior.
● Madee Moran illustrated coloring book walls in “Childish”.
● Emily Dahlquist curated the overall creative direction of the entire experience and its concepts, as well as the curation of 30-days of programming presented by WOMANISH.
Tickets are currently available on www.wearewomanish.com