Hi! I’m Camille – I’m a white, cisgender lady from the Midwest with a love for art, reading and podcasts. My family is scattered across the cities of Minnesota, Texas, Illinois, Arizona and Iowa – and I see how these places affect my opinions and experiences. I am also influenced by my upbringing in Baptist, Evangelical and Nondenominational church communities, and my artwork draws upon all of these factors. You can read more about that on my personal website.
So, why am I in Omaha? Well, I attended graduate school in Lincoln, finished in 2014, and then moved to Omaha because I truly like living here. Omaha provides a lot of support for practicing artists, and there is an active community of creative people making cool projects happen all over the city.
Woven is a project that will be temporary, but I’m optimistic about its potential for long-term impact through storytelling and relationships. That was my experience in the preceding project, “UNL Womanhouse: The House That Feminism Built.” In the process of collaborating for UNL Womanhouse, new friendships were formed and bonds were strengthened, and the impact on me lasts to this day.
Before I engaged with feminist ideas and talked to to self-identifying feminists, I had a vague stereotype of angry, men-hating women in my head, but I also sensed individual empowerment that I wanted for myself. I listened to peers and mentors share how feminism applied to their everyday lives, heard their stories, and observed how feminism could inform school, family, and social responsibilities throughout the course of the project, which made the concepts more tangible. It gave me a sense of confidence that helped me creatively and personally.
The biggest takeaway: realizing that women enact misogynistic rules upon themselves and each other. Instead, it is important to push back against the larger social norms imposed on women by (mostly) white, cisgender males in power. I think these ideas are passed on both consciously and subconsciously, harming everyone. Becoming aware of these norms changed the way I move through the world. I stopped imposing those rules on others and myself.
At the same time, through dialogue and research, my perspective slowly broadened to see how feminism applies to issues of race, class, sexual orientation, education, religion, and on. These all influence one’s experience of the structures of power that are beyond any one person’s making, but directly impact every individual for better or worse. I believe that being aware of these structures informs how we can collectively, intentionally reshape them with many hands working towards equity. Awareness cannot come from one voice. Many voices from many corners of the city can highlight the ways in which space must be made for every person to thrive.