With Lorraine Sullivan, an artist friend, we organized an exhibition curated by Zoe Perry-Wood, in the first Parish in Lexington, MA: "Girls just wanna have fun". We installed our artworks on monday:
We came back on wednesday to add some information about the artworks and found out that:
17 artworks out of my 19 installed had been turned towards the walls, and one from Lorraine.
Censored. Without informing us.
We discussed with the reverend, tried to find some common ground and solutions to address the Church concerns.
The least is to say we were not enthusiastic about what happened... So I came back on thursday.
To put a word on what happened.
On sunday morning with Lorraine, we put down the exhibition.
Here is the text of my email sent on friday to the reverend Anne:
I would like to take the opportunity to give more insight about the exhibition and our intentions as artists, since I've been told informally there is a will from the Church to shut down our exhibit "Girls just wanna have fun" before this sunday June 12.
After your conversation with Zoe, I prepared an informative text about women situation in the United States, as well as a list of helpful organisations for those in need (for support and/or information) as per our conversation on wednesday . We put this document thursday evening on the wall. We added also leaflets "censored" on all the backwards installed artworks, as an information about what is being censored, since Lorraine and I were strucked that many of our artworks had been put facing the wall without our knowledge.
We fully understand that the triggering of emotions provoked by this exhibition might be painful for some souls, but it might be even more helpful for some more people to have their pain recognized and heard. When the exhibit (badrooms - with the dolls) was shown in Warsaw, and in the South Shore Art Center, survivors came and thanked for showing this. It's the purpose of art, to trigger, to question, to intrigue and to provoke. That's what we do with Lorraine, and will continue to do: even if silenced, we'll persist.
The objective of the exhibit is to provoke a discussion, not a shutdown of it.
The objective is to help people, not to make them suffer.
The objective is to engage a discussion about the reality of 25% of women in our society, to recognize and hear their voices, to raise awareness.
To celebrate women, survivors, victims in a world where misogyny, violence and abuse towards women are becoming alarmingly part of a rape culture.
The objective is to educate and empower.
I work on a regular basis with homeless women, who experienced abuse, rape, violence, domestic abuse in a shelter for survivors of domestic violence (Transition House in Cambridge). Art heals. Facing demons heals, educating women empowers them and gives them the tools they need to be stronger and live happier lives.
We fully understand that we might have put you in a difficult situation towards some of the souls you guide. It was not our intent. Forgive us if we did so. We want to share and discuss, we 're open to proposals. We could together organize an artist talk, a meeting for survivors (with the assurance of full confidentiality for the group), a meeting with concerned parents (with a psychologist), or other suggestions from your side. We can help with contacting organizations who could provide with leaflets/supports/information, etc...
When Zoe told us about the possibility to exhibit in the Unitarian Church of Lexington few months ago, I was amazed by the opportunity to show in your church, I was positively surprised by the immense openness from the Church to deal with LGBTQ, Black Lives Matters, homelessness issues. I'm still convinced that together, in the spirit of cooperation and support for our sisters and brothers, we can handle these difficult subjects.
I had a dream that the Unitarian Church could be the leader of a positive change, education, support for survivors, and support for women, would be a light in the darkness, a symbol of hope. So let's talk, let's act, let's join our strengths together.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Here is the link to the official answer from the Church (see the text below):
to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fplex/
I would like to take this opportunity to use creatively
What happened in the church.
Reuse. Redo. Recycle. Rethink. Recreate. Review. Remember.
Make some art, a participative performance...with all of you.
I want to hear your reactions:
Write down your thoughts about what happened in the church, send a poem, a song, a quote, a drawing, a picture, a story, a book title, an article, a reference, whatever you want, record your voice. Make your voice heard. Since ours were silenced.
Send your voice to plaisance4art (at) gmail.com The only condition is to have your full name and job title. And by sending your voice, you give full consent to have it used (online and offline/printed). Your voices will be shown in a future exhibition.