Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Feminist Artists - A BSL Tour...?

We were excited. An actual art exhibition dedicated to none other than FEMINIST artists! And there was a tour of the exhibition in BSL. Oh, we were so there.

We arrived slightly confused. Was this it? A small, cramped room? The presenter then began...."This is a banana. It is yellow". Wow, really? No shit, Sherlock. It got worse.

We looked at each other in dismay. Where was the scintillating feminist context? What compelled this artist to take on a double identity for three years? What made that artist create a grotesque image of a step-by-step beauty routine? And WHY was that banana even there? Irony? A satirical portrait of society's standards of so-called beauty, and the unrealistic demands to attain those standards, perhaps? The symbolicism of phallic items, infused with power? No. It's a banana and it is yellow. No more. No less.

The worse was yet to come. "These are posters by woman artists in America. They wear monkey masks". That's all can be said about the Guerilla Girls?! Not a single comment on the painful irony in the fact that they worked so hard for equal representation, not wishing their work to be hidden away in a room somewhere. And yet there they were, in a small room again, surrounded by huge rooms filled with the work of male artists.

We walked away, bitterly disappointed. This only served to reinforce the reasons why Triangle was set up. There is a real lack of awareness about the feminist movement in the Deaf community. If we are unable to find a decent presentation in BSL (given by a hearing person nonetheless!!), then how can others even begin to learn about feminist issues? If we can't even find this simple provision, then how can we move forward and tackle those issues?

We looked at each other and sighed. If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, then the mountain must come to Mohammed. Now, drink up girls. We have a lot of work to do!

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