She stands defiant (above), arms crossed, not giving in. Unashamed of her naked body, which is painted with the ancient symbols of the powerful, life-giving Goddess.
Her throat chakra, a shinning jewel, a strong and steady voice. Her hair, the wisdom of the autumn oak. Her eyes wide open, seeing all.
She came from somewhere inside of me. I didn’t know when I drew her, how personal, how political she really is.
And in her I can see how my art, life and politics are all intertwined.
That feminist idea that the Personal is Political, comes back to me now. I can see now that I’ve been making political art for years.
My quilts have always been an expression of my belief in myself and my sense of self-worth.
My potholders allowed me to start my own business and work at it full-time. They helped me become independent and confident. And my images, the girls, women and goddesses on my potholders, quilts and wall-hangings, speak of finding my voice, standing in my truth, loving my body and demanding respect.
In making my art and putting it out into the world, I’ve found that these issues aren’t particular to me. They’re shared by so many people, mostly women. They’re an intrinsic part of our society. And that makes them political.
My art helped me find my voice. Helped me to be less afraid to speak my truth and reveal my vulnerabilities and my fears. My art is me. My politics are me. It took me a long time to understand that.
And because of that, I find I’m able to express myself politically in ways I haven’t been able to before.
I am deeply upset with the direction our country has taking since the election. But I’m finding that I’m able to do something about it. I’m marching, and sending letters and helping refugees, and speaking up and thinking about what’s next.
This is new for me. I have the confidence and belief in myself to speak my mind, to make myself heard.
My voice was made physical in my body when I marched in the Women’s March. It’s come through in my writing to the President and Congress to let them know how I feel about their policies. It’s made real in the comforter and rag rug I sent to the refugees coming to live in Albany NY.
For a long time I’ve known that my life is my art and my art my life. I’m just realizing that my politics aren’t separate from my life and art either.
So, for the past week or so, ever since the inauguration, when ever I hear something that pisses me off, that I believe is wrong, I send an email or write a letter. I give some worthy organization a donation, feed the animals an extra treat, pass on a kindness. I create a piece of art.
As Civil Rights Activist Rabi Hershel said, I’m “praying with my feet.”
Politics is personal. So is art.