In the spring of 2017, when Senator Elizabeth Warren was shut down in the Senate with Mitch McConnell’s statement, “She was told. She was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted.” I felt the rising up of something deep and primordial within me.
Silent for so long, I wanted to express myself. To speak to how that comment rippled down through the cells of my body, tearing apart my DNA, awakening forgotten moments of being put down, shut up and shut out by ‘the patriarchy’.
I put ‘patriarchy’ in quotation marks because I do not want you to think that I am targeting men. I am speaking of a systemic, insipid idea that has been woven into the fabric of our society, threaded through our DNA, our psyches, our lives. It is an old idea. So old, so inculcated into our human being that we don’t see it as distinct and separate from our human condition, we see it as part of who we are and how we are in the world.
Sometimes, we brush it away with comments of “Oh that’s just the way it is.” or, “You should be grateful. There are a lot of women in this world who do not have the privileges and rights you do.” Or, “Hey it could be worse! You could be…[and then we name some other being whose journey is even more fraught with peril than women’s rights.]” As if gratitude for being reluctantly granted the right to ‘being treated as equal’ will somehow wash away the blood, sweat and tears women have shed in their fight to gain a foothold in a man’s world they helped create.
The idea is simple. Men, as in the male of our species, know what to do because they have the power and the moral authority to control the world. It’s not that they want to. It’s just the way it’s always been. To maintain the balance of life on earth, all we womenfolk have to do is be grateful for what they give us and not rock the boat, too much.
Please, don’t jump all over me for stating this. As I said, I am not targeting men. I am shining a light on what that moment when Elizabeth Warren was shut down in the Senate, awoke in me.
The need, no the imperative, that I speak up. Rise up. Give up pretending I’m okay with the status quo. That I’m down with buying into the moral imperative of giving women a place at the table as long as ‘they’ get to dole out the number of seats in equal proportion to their assessment of what is right for mankind.
Discrimination, segregation, economic disadvantaging/control, sexualization of the feminine form, acts of violence perpetrated on the feminine form and on humanity, limiting or denying the rights of individuals because of their colour, sexual identity, creed, economic status… are subtle even in their overtness.
And so, I began the #ShePersisted series of paintings. My intent had been to create one or two and then move on.
Three years later, the muse keeps flowing with thoughts and ideas, the series voice still pushes at my creative expression, insisting on her right to be heard.
So, I heed her.
With the advent of Covid-19, she is becoming more insistent that we let go of our fear, our clamouring for more, our incessant building of bigger and better to the benefit of the few. She is calling out for all of us to give into the simple yet profound belief that Love is the answer.
No one person can lead the way out of this crisis. No one person has the answers.
We are, this entire planet made up of over 7+ billion humans and billions upon billions of animals and flowing rivers and oceans, icebergs and boreal forests and jungles and deserts, mountains and valleys, hills and plains. We are all spinning together in space, held fast to this place we call home by the gravity that holds us up. We are woven together by our one shared human condition.
Can we. Will we. Choose Love over Fear?
Can we. Will we. Let Love Lead?
The series can be viewed HERE.
Thank you again, Miriam, for the inspiration for Let Love Lead.