Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not Barbie: A Celebration of Real Women, and Beyond Barbie: Piecing Together Today's Woman

My goodness, but it has been difficult for me to get to the computer for writing a blog post lately!  I'm exceedingly busy preparing for my upcoming show, Not Barbie: A Celebration of Real Women, and even busier, if that's possible, getting ready for Beyond Barbie: Piecing Together Today's Woman, a performance series to be held on Thursday evenings in conjunction with and at the same venue as Not Barbie.   When I realized that most of my models are artists and/or performers in their own right, I decided it would be very cool to put together a series of performances to showcase their talents.  Eight topics rose to the top based on issues my models work with or the type of work they do.  We eliminated one when we couldn't find anyone to speak about it.  Ironically, that topic was balance!  Most of us struggle to achieve balance in our lives - too busy living them!  So we dropped that one.

Like my exhibition, the series will be held at Crossroads Art Center here in Richmond, VA.  The Opening for Not Barbie is Friday, September 16th at 6:00.  I'll be giving an artist's talk beforehand at 5:30 for anyone interested in hearing me talk about my art, my process, my models, etc. 

The show will consist of 50+ pastel drawings and oil paintings of female nudes - the very ones I've shown here on the blog the last couple of years.  It's the largest show I've put on to date.  In addition to the nudes, I'll also have several interactive exhibits which are intended to help the viewer explore his/her feelings about his/her own body and/or notice prejudices and feelings he/she may have about others'.  It promises to be a very interesting night!

The performance series, Beyond Barbie, will begin the Thursday after my opening, Sept 22 at 7 PM.  Tickets($10 for one performance, $50 for all seven) can be purchased at the door or in advance through Crossroads Art Center.  Below is a list of what each evening has to offer.  It would be lovely to see you there!

Thursday, September 22nd
Strength in Motion: To Speak without Words is an inspired evening of dance performance and discussion.  Joining us will be leaders in different styles of dance including Frances Wessels of Virginia Commonwealth University, Peggy O'Neill, Dawn Flores, and Khalima of Illumination Dance Studio. From bellydance to hoop dance, we will explore the ways women have moved across the ages to present times, and how dance can serve not only as a performance art, but as a healing, spiritual, and strengthening modality.  

Thursday, September 29th
Body of work: Finding Inspiration in a Canvas of Flesh is an event designed to take a serious look at the world of women and body modification, and the many ways that women intentionally modify the bodies that they are in, through body art, adornment, and other methods. We will be discussing personal growth and expression versus self harm. We will be joined by Rachel Easter of Onetribe, professional body piercer Kim Sikorsky, and others who will share their experiences with body modification.

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
The Blues: Liberation, Empowerment, and Joy! is an evening celebrating the life-changing power of music. Opening the evening with song will be Ana Rivera-Poland followed by a headlining performance from Gaye Adegbalola, singer, composer, storyteller and activist.  By maintaining the blues legacy, Gaye sees herself as a contemporary griot - keeping the history alive, delivering messages of empowerment, ministering to the heartbroken, and finding joy in the mundane.

Thursday, October 13, 2011 
Through the Fire: Reclaiming Lost Power After Trauma & Abuse.
When one woman on the planet is beaten, raped or otherwise abused, we all suffer.  Our compassion for each other breaks all barriers of class and ethnic separation.  That is why these stories are difficult to hear; but for healing to occur, they need to be spoken.  In a safe and sacred space award-winning storytellers, Linda Goodman and Megan Hicks, lead a cast of artists in opening a window into a world where few of us would go willingly.  Through the transformative power of art, these women show us how to process, rise above and glean wisdom from life's most unwanted and painful lessons.  The evening's performance will be followed by a question and answer period with the artists, who will be joined by experts from the community in offering resources, information and advice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Caught in a Funhouse Mirror: the Distorted Reflections of Eating Disorders.
Kathleen McDonald, a nationally-known speaker and Capitol Hill lobbyist on behalf of people with eating disorders will be the expert speaking that night.  She will give an informative, gripping, and thoroughly personal account of her own struggle with eating disorders.  She will also provide listeners with hope, local and national resources, and practical advice. In addition to Ms. McDonald's talk, there will also be a panel of local experts and survivors to address other questions audience members may have.  Whether you, a friend, or family member has been personally affected or you simply want to hear women talk about their lives in a way that is true and real, this will be a moving performance to attend. 

Thursday, October 27th
Listening and Observing: Women Tell Their Birth Stories  Childbirth may be one of the most powerful events that women experience in life. The sharing of women's personal experiences of giving birth provides an opportunity for greater understanding about how birth shapes and is shaped by our self-perceptions, our culture, and the trajectory of our lives. This evening will provide a safe space to experience the art of listening as we share our personal stories of birth in a way that honors the unique experience of each storyteller.

Thursday, November 3 
Life in the First Person: Women's Stories Uncovered will serve as the grand finale in the event series, Beyond Barbie. Seven reknown Richmond writers will join forces to create a night of mixed-genre storytelling, reading and performance art via poetry and prose. Come out to hear Life in the First Person with Gigi Amateau, novelist; Denise Bennett, storyteller; Tarfia Faizullah, poet; Julie Geen, freelance writer; Shelia Gray, performance artist; Valley Haggard, creative nonfiction writer and Alexandra Nelson Iwashyna, blogger.

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