Co-curated by Karin Campbell and Monica Maxwell, this was an intimate look at violence against women with speakers sharing personal and professional stories. We were very pleased to be serving Aisha Al Ramadan’s wonderful, home-cooked Syrian food at the start of the program: baba ganoush, maqlouba, tabouli, and, my personal favorite, baklava was enjoyed by all.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Open Floor: Caste Away, co-curated by Rosana Ybarra and Michael Johnson. An evening of feminist art and performance that examined our connectedness to work, power relations and one another. Lisa Guevara, Makaela Harder, Johnson and Ybarra presented a collaborative performance with an original animation by Ybarra, and Eris Koleszar gave a intimate acoustic performance on her guitar. The show also including small works by Patricia Davis, Lisa Guevara, Makaela Harder, Emily Lux, Thalia Rodgers, Laura Simpson, Amber Stevens and Phalin Strong. The night ended with people weaving, discussing what was presented and making new connections.
Weaving Through Life was co-curated by Jax Smith and Edem K. Garro and featured a dinner catered by Edem’s mom Vera. She made delicious (!!!) traditional Ghanan food like jollof (vegan) and plantains, all vegan if one didn’t include the optional hard-boiled egg on the side. The program created a space to focus on the self and was a mix of Edem’s singing and music, reflections on self-care, and weaving. If you want to read the idea behind Weaving Through Life, check out Jax’s blog post here.
An Open Floor co-curated by Brittany Strong and Regina Emily Robbins, Algonquin of Pikwakanagan and Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma respectively. INDIGENIST was held on Indigenous Peoples Day and invited the public to listen to the woven narratives of Native women advocating for education, heath and wellness in Omaha.
“What does it mean to be a woman in Omaha?” co-curators Beaufield Berry-Fisher and Jen Dawson posed the question to artists, performers and writers from diverse backgrounds, and invited the public to hear their responses in the forms of 5-minute plays, poems, performances, and stories.
Performances by: Brandi Smith, Lift Every Voice; Christi Leupold, Come Hungry; Michelle Huber, How to be from Omaha; Robyn Helwig, Yes, I know I’m beautiful; Cecilia Poon, A Phone Call; Beaufield Berry, I don’t know yet; Makayla Kelley; J.R. Dawson (feat. Hayley Greenstreet, Christi Leupold and Kim Alger), Prairie Women; Mallory Vallier and Regina Palmer, Awareness; Zedeka Poindexter, Onions; Ashley Laverty Woman: A meme
With visual art by Pamela Jo Berry
The “Embodied Loom” was an activity where people joined forces to become a weaving apparatus. Being more fun than it sounds, it was a hands-on way to understand how weaving works and how our “social fabric” is constructed. We presented the activity at several different locations in Omaha with a diverse range of people joining in. If you were one of them, thank you for being part of the “Warp and Weft of Us”!
9/1: kick-off at Gifford Park Neighborhood Market (our first public event!)
9/15: Workshop at The Union for Contemporary Art
(Above photos by Dawaune Hayes, Communications Manager @Union for Contemporary Art)
10/10: Intro to Women and Gender Studies in the Humanities class at UNO with Dr. Maria Arbelaez
11/17 INDIGENIST opening at the Community Engagement Center at UNO (shout-out to our co-cos Brittany Strong and Regina Emily Robbins for making this happen!)
Alex Totman will be leading the self-care skill-share Sunday, Oct. 29th from 3 – 4:30.
Hope to see you there!
How do you identify yourself? (Work, education, neighborhood, family, gender, etc.)
Identifying myself is hard, I don’t think about it much. It reminds me of labels– which I abhor. When we were little, things seemed much more simple. For example, I loved to color (still do!) and your first box of crayons only has one shade of each color. You have one green crayon, and you know that’s the color of the grass. That blue is the color of the sky. The red is the shade of an apple. Overly simplistic, eh? As you grow, you get a bigger and better selection of crayons. Nothing is black and white anymore, everything has shades and is much more complicated. I feel like labels are akin to a simple box of crayons. It’s something simplistic to help people understand you a little better, but a person is so much more than some simple labels. If I HAD to identify as anything it would be.. life learner, animal lover, licensed massage therapist, artsy fartsy, single pansexual woman, taco eater, and nap taker.
What’s a practice you do in your life that relates to feminism?
I guess my attitude where I don’t give a fuck what other people think, lol! I spent too much time when I was younger worrying and stressing about what others thought, it was exhausting.
Where do you want to see more feminist thinking?
I would love to see it in all levels, from every person in their daily lives to our government. Men can benefit from feminism too. All too often I have come across men who find it essential to be “manly” but we are all human beings going through this world on our own journeys and showing emotion at any time is okay! We are human! Feel what runs through your veins and express how you feel accordingly!
How could the social fabric of Omaha be strengthened? That’s a harder inquiry. I think any social fabric could be strengthened through open and honest communication and compassion. It’s so much easier to be pissed and hateful towards others, especially right now. We will never truly be able to put ourselves in someone’s shoes, but for the most part, I think most cases (not all) our disagreements with each other’s life choices (ie. gay marriage) can be dismissed with live and let live.
What women make you feel empowered?
There are so many women that make me feel empowered! It brings me such joy to see those living life the way they truly want- pursuing a career which excites them, expressing themselves through dance or art, getting out of their comfort zone, being brave despite their current troubles and persevering. These women make me feel empowered!