In my practice I reflect on what we have lost in our passage from nature to culture – our skewed experience of the natural world and female identity, and how this dissociation has impacted our sense of belonging and inclusion. Through print, sculpture, and installation, I investigate how family history, identity, and mythologies of womanhood can intersect to offer alternative definitions of what it means to be female, and the importance of re-establishing a partnership with the natural world as a means to reuniting with our true selves.
For women and nature alike, physical and psychological borders define our reality. The borders between feminine and unfeminine, human and animal, tameness and wildness, savage and civilized – rules about what is natural and what isn’t – govern women’s lives. As a woman I have struggled and failed to fit traditional definitions of femininity – too male to be female and too female to be male. In my practice, I engage with what is considered appropriate female behavior as I explore female identities, and the impact this struggle has on my own mental health.
Although in Western liberal democracies we are the descendants of ancient Greece intellectually, politically and artistically, the philosophy of man as the center of the universe, created in the image of the gods, has had catastrophic consequences for both women and the natural world. Together women and nature found themselves on the wrong side of a binary existence, and have become allies in Otherness.
I’ve come to a place where the need for alternative definitions to the binary expectations of womanhood has become an imperative. Definitions into which I, a queer female artist and mother, fit –more importantly, ones where in order to fit I do not have to practice the ritual excision and sacrifice of those parts of myself deemed unacceptable and incongruous. As my role of wife and mother take over more of my identity, it is becoming increasingly impossible to integrate myself and my family into society’s assumed heteronormative definitions of those identities.
With my work I want to support healthier communities where more women see themselves mirrored in the narratives of a broader society in an effort to encourage a sense of belonging, expand circles of trust and support the notion of an intersectional collective. In my practice I aim to reclaim, reframe and shift entrenched societal narratives in order to engage with complex truths instead of succumbing to easy lies.
We are the stories we tell ourselves – but what if a new voice can be added to the refrain? A voice that makes space for a borderless view of femininity, a voice that offers inclusion as the standard instead of integration, so that women like myself, who have never felt like they belong, begin to see ourselves reflected in the culture that surrounds us.