This one is for all the “nasty women” everywhere, who felt like a wrecking-ball demolished their world when Donald Trump was elected in November 8, 2016. It is a day that many of us will never forget, not just because due to an outdated Electoral College system that enabled him to become the 45th President of the United States despite Hillary Clinton receiving close to 3 million more votes than him in the popular vote (which makes her the second most popular presidential pick behind Barack Obama in 2008).
It was also a day to remember because that’s when the resistance began. As the shock and dismay set up, people across the country and especially women who have been waiting for 240+ years to see a female become the most powerful leader in the world, realized that fighting back against all the hatred, division, vitriol and animosity that was stirred up by Trump was more necessary than ever. It became a rallying cry in the feminist community.
It’s not enough to stay angry and not do anything with those emotions. At times like this, art, media and entertainment become even more vital in our culture in terms of helping to shift the way we think in unique ways. An art gallery in New York City called Untitled Space wasted no time in doing their part for the resistance, announcing a new exhibition that will run from January 17 -28. Titled ‘UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN ‘, the Tribeca-based gallery called for women to enter submissions right after the election and emphasized how they want to see art that directly responds to and reflects the outrage felt by many.
The exhibition is curated by Indira Cesarine, and proceeds from the show will go benefit the ERA COALITION and the Fund for Women’s Equality. In a statement on the Untitled Gallery website, Indira explained why now is the time to stand in solidarity, especially in regard to a number of threats to women’s rights under a Trump administration.
“The 2016 presidential election has brought to the surface extremes of sexism, racism and discrimination. Many women are deeply disturbed not only by the negative stereotyping and sexist attitudes towards women that have surfaced but also the threats to roll back women’s rights. The UPRISE / ANGRY WOMEN exhibit gives female artists a means to express themselves in regards to the social and political climate in America, and empower others with their visual imagery…Right now more than ever women need to unify and work together to ensure that our rights, which were fought for with blood and tears for many decades, are not only assured, but continue to progress,” she said.
The culture of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, hatred, fear and violence toward minorities and people of color was happening long before November 8, 2016, however. The minute Donald Trump descended down his ridiculous Trump Tower escalator to declare Mexicans as rapists and drug smuggler (but *some* were good, he assumed) he immediately created a hostile culture across America that inflamed the worst aspects of our humanity.
His multiple rape and sexual assault charges, not to mention self-admissions caught on a hot mic by NBC, were clearly not enough for 4 out of 5 White Evangelical voters to take a stand against what is considered a crime under US law. His slut-shaming of a former beauty pageant contestant on Twitter, showed what little (if any) respect he has for women in general, especially those that dare speak out against him.
The way he paraded a group of women who have previously accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault in front of Hillary Clinton at a televised Presidential debate, showed that he has absolutely zero regard for their actual experience, but they sure did make a convenient political weapon for him at the time. Do we even have to wonder whether Trump has been following up with Bill Clinton’s accusers, asking how they are doing, if they need support, guidance, etc?
“The 2016 election has brought to the surface extremes of sexism, racism and discrimination. A dark cloud looms over those who respect ideals of equal rights, human dignity and humanitarianism. A resounding number of people are feeling a heavy weight of anxiety and sadness as well as a newfound sense of urgency and determination to be more involved and socially aware,” says a description on the gallery’s website about why they are doing this. They want to encourage artists to respond to the danger of Trump using their creative talents.
In an interview with BedfordandBowery.com, Indira talks about how the election was a wake-up call for a lot of women in regard to how real and present misogyny is in our culture today.
“The fact that now we have to live in fear of our reproductive rights being stripped away from us, that much of the progress we have made over the past 50 years may very well just crumble away with the new political regime is frightening to countless women,” she said.
Indira opened the gallery in 2014 as a space to promote feminist art, and UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN will be their first open-call show (all others have been curated). This was a deliberate decision to find new female artists they can work with and help promote, but to also encourage solidarity and diversity among the female art community. She received over 1800 works of art from 400 different artists, and in the end they chose to feature 1 piece from 80 artists in total.
We asked her why it was important to use her gallery space to be part of the growing resistance against the hate and fear stoked up by Donald Trump’s election, and she said art has always played a significant role when it comes to representing sentiments of an era or the populace.
“I think political art can be very powerful. Artists have a way of presenting things that puts it in perspective and also can often convey with their work ideas that people might be thinking but would be afraid to speak out loud. I have recently seen a lot of incredible art out there that addresses the issues. Culturally speaking art can be a catalyst for change, and can be an act of protest itself,” she told us in an email.
Indira hopes the artwork seen by gallery visitors will give hope to those frustrated by the current political situation.
“Art can have a massive social impact, and I think it’s important that artists are encouraged to create works that empower others, that inspire, that challenge the status quo, and that make people think. It’s important to keep progressing and if art can make even the slightest difference than it’s worth it,” she said.
UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN is also a deliberate form of action that seeks to ensure the ugly rhetoric that has risen in the wake of the election will not just go unnoticed or become normalized.
“Artists have an ability to create visual art that can relay what many are thinking but may not be able to speak out loud. Art can challenge the status quo and shed light on the challenges and concerns our society is facing today. It is also a very important time in history for women to join together to fight for our rights and ensure that they continue to progress. It is important for Trump’s sexist, racist behavior to not become normalized,” said Indira.
If you are not in New York City during January 17-28 to see the exhibition in person, you can see the work of the 80 artists on the Untitled Space website, as well as Artsy.net. We have also included some of our favorite pieces from the badass female artists throughout this post. In this day and age, the revolution will not just be in the streets, on our televisions or online, it will also appear in the art world.
We often talk about the need to dismantle myths surrounding feminism and feminists, including the notion that we are all just angry people. The truth is we are angry when we see discrimination and hatred, the like of which has been promoted and normalized by Donald Trump. There has never been a better time to use the anger for something positive and meaningful, which is exactly what ‘UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN’ aims to do.
(All images courtesy of and shared with permission by Untitled Space NYC)