Lady love

Female-identifying art show raises funds for women’s shelter

Gwen Freeman and Quyen Huynh at Stella’s discussing the upcoming “THANK YOU FOR COMING” show at The Edge Gallery.

Photo by Mike Sudoma

Winnipeg women are challenging stigmas and gender expectations with a new art exhibit.

THANK YOU FOR COMING celebrates women in the art world with an all-women-identifying visual art show. On Nov. 13, the show’s opening night, there will be live performances as well as exclusively lady-made art.

Ciara Preteau, whose solo act “grimace” will be a part of the show, appreciates the importance of it.

“Women do not always see themselves reflected in the art they admire and are starved for feminine role models,” Preteau says. “My primary goal is to fearlessly expose my inexperience while hopefully conjuring up some special musical moments in the process.”

Co-curator Quyen Huynh says they wanted to include many forms of expression.

“I see this event as almost a celebration. I think with the type of content we’re featuring along with the mixed forms of expression, will inspire female artists to experiment with some of the content that may apply to them,” Huynh says.

Huynh’s artistic background falls under creating street art, thick lines, bold colours and weird creatures. The second curator, Gwen Freeman, is a newly settled Winnipegger from Chicago who practices photography and performance with an interest in female sexuality and identity.

“I have hopes to engage in a community that encourages everyone,” Freeman says.

“Originally, we had collaborated on a few pieces,” Huynh says. “With long-winded discussions, we figured we should have our own art show with a theme we were passionate about.”

The duo sets out to challenge stigmas surrounding women with a variety of mediums in the show, and don’t expect them to censor anything. Especially with anatomy; they’re selling vagina shaped cookies.

“With how progressive our generation is, I think it’s really important to break stigmas about how women should feel regarding thoughts on self-pleasure, reproductive rights or anything in between that,” Huynh says. “It’s embracing and empowering through the voice previous generations’ women have fought so hard for.”

There are some interactive pieces along with displays Hyuen and Freeman described as being risqué and explicit, and with a softly suggested 18 and over age group for viewing.

Other mediums like spoken word by Christina Mick and Jennifer Darkly and live music by Tannis Kelm and Ciara Preteau will be featured opening night.

The show creates a supportive space for female-identifying artists while aiming to help make a difference for other people as they’re raising funds for a women’s shelter as well.  

“With such a strong topic about stigmas, body positivity and rights regarding our sexuality, it would almost go to waste if we didn’t give back to the community,” Huynh says. “We’re not tackling all of the issues at once but it’s definitely a starting point in the right direction.”

All the performers will be glad to see you and your coin as they are putting on the show not only to showcase female artistry, but to help support all people who identify as female by raising money for Willow Place women’s shelter.

Published in Volume 70, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 12, 2015)

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