Posted by: gdevi | March 17, 2015

“Excellent Things in Women” – 2

We had a lovely afternoon today; Lisette and I and Nic and Tara put together a Judy Chicago Dinner Party to mark Women’s History Month. In 1979 the artist Judy Chicago created an installation piece — now at the Brooklyn Museum–of a dinner party with dinner plates and placemats for thirty nine women from history that she wanted to honor and respect. It is an installation piece and not a party or a dinner. It is symbolic of women we want around our table and to respect and to honor. We invited interested faculty and staff to join us to paint a dinner plate and a place mat in honor of a woman they respect. Our colleague and Art Professor Philip made the pottery studio available for us to meet and paint the plates. (Thank you, Philip.) We met there from 4pm-7pm. We had close to twenty five faculty and staff colleagues who joined us. Some could not make it today due to other schedule conflicts, so we are going to make two more days open for those who want to paint their plates. It was wonderful. We supplied the porcelain plates and the porcelain paint and brushes. Folks brought pictures or ideas to paint the plate for a woman they wanted to honor and to respect. I learned about so many women that I had not heard about before. Many of us also made plates for our mothers, grandmothers, and other women in our lives. It was wonderful. We put Joni Mitchell on-someone brought a CD player–and I sang along with the entire Blue album. Helen, History professor, who is in the community choir told me that I should join the community choir. Maybe I will!

I wanted to paint a plate for my mother, but I also wanted to paint a plate for this artist that I like so much. So I painted my plate for the First Nations artist Ellen Neel; the first woman totem pole carver. Totem poles were made by men, until Ellen became a carver. You can see the totems Ellen carved all over British Columbia and Vancouver. They are beautiful. I hope to write a book about Ellen’s work someday. I have to do a second coat, but here is a picture of my plate for Ellen Neel. I cannot draw to save my life, so, my apologies, lovely Ellen, for this mangled version of your beautiful mask. But I can write, and I will write about your work one of these days, insha’allah.

ellenneelmask

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