Sunday, March 31, 2013

Swimming in One's Self as a Political Act

March 30, 2013
Audre Lorde

"...and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive"

(from "A Litany for Survival" by Audre Lorde)

March 31, 2013
Josephine Baker

"I wasn't really naked. I simply didn't have any clothes on." Josephine Baker

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Social Activism: 1876 to 2013

March 28, 2013
Somaly Mam
 While Mu Sochua works to undo the political misogyny that enables young girls to be sold as slaves, Somaly Mam works to help heal those young girls by giving them shelter and speaking out about her own story. More about her work here:, here: , and here:
March 29, 2013
Zitkala Sa
Zitkala Sa, born in 1876 on the Pine Hill Reservation in South Dakota  she spent her life confronting the injustice of the United Stats Government treatment of Native Tribes.  Listen here:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Confronting Modern Day Slavery

March 25, 2013
Malina Suliman
Malina Suliman is an artist working in Kundahar province in Afghanistan. More about her work to expose oppression and intolerance at her website:

March 26, 2013
Rachel Lloyd

Rachel Lloyd is working to expose child trafficking in the US. She is the founder of GEMS (Girls Educational And Mentoring Services More from her here (She is a POWERFUL speaker):

March 27, 2013
Mu Sochua
 Mu Sochua is a MP from Cambodia where she directly confronts violence against women especially the child human trafficking "industry" that forces too many young girls into the "sex tourism" business. More here:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lucy and Frida

March 20, 2013
Lucy Lippard
 "I've been accused of being a moving target. But what target in its right mind won't move? And what good art is not a moving target? Mobility (and flexibility) has become a strategy as well as a temperamental and intellectual preference." 
Lucy Lippard (from The Pink Glass Swan)

March 21, 2013
Frida Kahlo
"The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration." 
Frida Kahlo

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Constructing Revolutions: The Sculptor, the Painter and the Poet

March 18, 2013
Louise Nevelson
 "True strength is delicate." ~Louise Nevelson

March 18, 2013 (ALSO)
Homage to Dorothea Tanning
 "Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don’t see a different purpose for it now."
 ~Dorothea Tanning

March 19, 2013
Andrea Gibson
"She's not asking what you're gonna tell your daughter, she's asking what you're gonna teach your son." ~Andrea Gisbon

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Confronting Race, Gender and Class Status through Words, Acting and Maps

March 15, 2013
Ntozake Shange

one thing I dont need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i dont know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
from "for colored girls who have considered suicide with the rainbow is enuf"

March 16, 2013

As a child with dark hair, 

seeing her as a self assured and powerful woman on television every week was important.  

More here on how she got her role:

March 17, 2013
Sikha Patra

“Before, my identity was either as my grandfather’s granddaughter or my father’s daughter or as someone who lives in the house by the temple,” she says. “Now, they say, ‘Oh, that’s Shikha.’ Or, ‘That’s the girl who does surveys – or teaches kids to paint – or trains them in sports.’ I feel like they know me for who I am.” 
More here:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013


March 10, 2013
Gloria Steinham
Why Gloria Steinham in a Playboy Bunny Costume? Read the article "I Was a Playboy Bunny" here:

March 11, 2013
Ofeiba Quist-Arcton
At least once a week, as I drive to work and listen to NPR, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton's voice illuminates my car. Her voice is not only beautiful, but she is a reporter in Africa telling it like it is from the perspective of the people rather than the government run broadcasting system. (more here on that: Also, seriously the way she says "Dakar" makes my knees melt. But that is just rainbow sprinkles on my revolutionary sundae...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pink Vortex House

In ways beyond my control, I have been sucked back to the shoreline house.  My little WWII victory bungalow is conscious and has become a vortex pulling back sucking in bits of its former selves.  The house has grown like a cancer to accommodate its ego and all its inhabitants.

The house has decided to cut the large hemlocks that butt up against the garage.  The trees, thinks the house, have become part of it anyway.  Cut down and milled they will serve the house's majestic plan.  And perhaps appease Mrs. North, the former next door neighbor- the woman who lived in the space for 52 years and always wanted the trees removed - pleaded every year for their removal.

The milled hemlock beams create a large stage off the house's largest bedroom.  The floor is dusty dirty as if moving into that space between winter and spring when all the dirt from the outside decides suddenly to move inside.  The dirt moves inside to acclimatize us to the green that will soon arrive.

As I walk into the room, I walk past old gun safes and shell casings line the hallway.  The shotguns are re-purposed in to the legs of a large dining table.  The wine glasses are old lugers.  I want to question the house on this decorating choice and as the question moves from my brain to my tongue, the house retaliates:  I am physically and emotionally divided   The house pulls the obedient parts of my being into a separate body and thereby retains control over the situation.  I show disgust at the decorating, the situation and my cleaved self. My cleaved self clicks its tongue and moves into the room.

My cleaved self is told there will be a concert and it is to perform.  We set up the room, sweeping piles of dust into the heating ducts.  No one is coming.  The concert is empty save for myself, the guns, my cleaved self, and a monkey who is still sweeping.  My cleaved self climbs onto the stage.  The monkey tells it is close its eyes.  My cleaved self obeys.

The monkey begins to tell my cleaved self about the crowds of people arriving for the concert.  I can see no one except those who were there before.  The monkey is describing all the peoples' appearances and ages and mannerisms to my cleaved self.  But still: there is no one at the concert.

My cleaved self opens its eyes and begins to sing.  I see that it sees a crowd of people that are not real.  My cleaved self is singing and the crowd it sees is cheering.  I see no one.  The house begins to laugh

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Silueta des flores

March 9, 2013
Ana Mendieta
Thankfully VAWA was reauthorized a few days ago. Perhaps Ms. Mendieta would have been still making art today if VAWA had been around in 1985. Although her husband was acquitted of any charges surrounding her death (she fell/jumped/was thrown from her apartment balcony) their relationship was rather violent. Of Mendieta's supporters, a chunk of the (misogynist) art community called them the rabid "feminist cabal." Hmmm, asking to be treated with dignity, equity and respect makes one a conniving plotter?

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Dame and a Landowner

March 7, 2013
Maggie Smith
For this reason among others, Maggie Smith:

March 8, 2013 (International Women's Day)
Woman Farmer in Sahel
Through micro-lending like KIVA, women in some Sahel Desert communities (especially in Nigeria and Mali) are able to not only feed their families but nourish their communities AND through sustainable agriculture help to heal the damage done to the Sahel because of Human impacted climate change. These communities are inclusive and ALL members regardless of gender beneficial from the small businesses the women run. These women run farms and small businesses also aid in the education of girls and boys thereby improving the lot for future generation. Women also have less children but those children tend to have lower mortality rates. Women as farmers and business owners often is beneficial for the WHOLE ecosystem.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Willow and Hanifa

March 5, 2013
Willow Smith
A dear friend asked me why Willow Smith.  My first response was this link, a Red Table talk between Jada Pinkett-Smith and Willow Smith. The conversation weaves through fame and priveldge and holding true to one's self and roots despite and because of fame.  Paying back to the the past and to the community and building up a better place than one was given.  Willow Smith seemed to "get" this.

My second response was her song I Am ME.  The music is not something I would listen to ( I prefer grungy blues stuff) BUT: the message of remaining one's self SHINES THROUGH in this song.  This girl loves herself and is letting other girls and boys know that that is okay. What a powerful thing.  Be yourself, be kind, and it's okay.

Third, I am curious as to what this young person will do given the power she possesses.  Where will she take  herself and her understanding of empowerment?

March 6, 2013
Hanifa at Skateistan
When skateboarding is considered a crime and being a girl is considered a crime, take the two, mix them up and make empowered skater grrrls.  That's what a program in Kabul, Afghanistan called "Skateistan" is doing!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Furniture on the ocean in an umbrella boat

My father needs to get the dollhouse figures from the antique shop he owns in China.  I am hoping that he will bring the dollhouse furniture as well.  And my baby elephant.

He says no.

He says there will be no room on the boat for the furniture.  The figures is all we can go back for.

He pulls two boats like kites out of the back of his car.  They are light weight fabric boats and remind me of umbrellas.  We are going to sail across the ocean in them, his boat pulling mine.  I am scared but I don't say so.

We glide on the ocean at nighttime.  The wind pushes us quickly across to China.  When we land, the woman who maintains my father's shop is waiting for us on the beach.  She is riding the elephant that lives in the shops courtyard.  Men who are hooded and as tall as the elephant flank her and escort us to the shop.  It is nighttime and we are quiet.

At the shop, my father places the figures in an envelope and tucks them into my coat.  He tells me to keep them safe.  It is then we realize that the boats have been folded like umbrellas and packed into the boxes.  My father begins to scream.  We are trapped.  The guard is coming.

Quickly my father begins grabbing things: his apple shaped chair, a box of political pamphlets, the tray of dollhouse furniture, a box of sake glasses, and my baby elephant.  He tells the tall hooded men to fix the boats.  He tells me to watch the stack of objects he has gathered and wait for him right here.  He then leaves.

I watch the tall hooded men reconstruct the boats into some new version that I hope will float.  Some of the bracers are missing and they look even flimsier than before.  But I ignore this worry that grows in my chest: I now have my dollhouse furniture and my baby elephant.

My father returns with my brother.  He runs us all down to the beach and he tells me that I will have to pull the boat caravan and keep my brother safe.

"But papa, I can't swim."

He tells me that I can indeed swim, but I have just forgotten how.  He places my dollhouse furniture, the baby elephant and my brother in my little boat in the front.  He ties his boat to mine and gets in with the boxes of pamphlets and sake glasses, the apple chair and himself.  Swim, he tells me.  Swim, the bad men are coming.

I get in the water and begin pulling the boats.  My brother is crying and my father's boat has sunk.  I cannot swim and the other shore is very far away.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Every child has a universe in their mind...

March 1, 2013
Malala Yousafzai

"Today you can see that I am alive...I want every  girl, every child , to be educated."

March 2, 2013
Yoko Ono

"You may think I am small, but I have a universe in my mind."