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  • Writer's pictureChiara

New project: starting points

In/visible: femin-ine/ist responses to domestic violence

This project grew out of some some dilemmas in exploring an important social justice issue and significant personal traumatic experience. My previous semester’s major project focussed on the motif of the hand --reaching for a political response to violence against women. I heard two important critiques to this work.

  • difficulty in identifying the handprints as belonging to women (as compared to any other oppressed group) and thus raising a feminist protest.

  • lack of depth in the images as they were printed black on white and despite being etched, they appeared somewhat photographic and flat.

On the other hand, my stitched banner Unbelievable appeared to effectively embody the feminist ideas it sought to convey. The whitework links me to generations of women and in particular the early feminists whose roles were constrained by traditions of femininity and the lack of basic human rights.

I was dissatisfied with

  • the words not being my own.

  • The slogan is clever and true, but it speaks to a plethora of feminist issues rather than one in particular

  • I am looking for ways to capture the tentative reaching for a voice of protest, rather than a ready-made phrase albeit painstakingly stitched out.

Neither the handprints nor the whitework banner recognise trauma as a particularly difficult feminist issue which is relevant to me.

This project therefore aims to reflect on multifaceted and nuanced reactions to violence against women. I want to look at the tension and difficulty involved in acts of protest by traumatised women. Handprints and whitework embroidery are my starting points. I need to explore how they might come together.

The full project proposal is here

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