Thursday, March 19, 2009


Tonight I watched a screening of "Who Does She Think She Is" and stayed for the Question and Answer session with the director/producer and one of the artists featured in the film. I walked away so empowered and inspired by these women. One of the experts interviewed in the film is Courtney Martin, the award winning author of Perfect Girls: Starving Daughters The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body set the tone for the film by commenting that, "this patriarchal world gets perpetuated by the fact that it would fall apart economically if women didn't accept the burden, and joy of course, of being caretakers without pay . . . the world sort of spins on that idea . . . "

The film reaffirmed my belief that art is the soul of any culture. It explains why we're human. It is an expression of the deepest aspects of humanity. It illuminates humanity and sheds light on the souls that inhabit it. 52 percent of those souls are women, the driving force that literally perpetuates humanity. The film featured five women artists who all spoke about their experience of balancing motherhood and their careers as artists. They explained their inner turmoil caused by being torn between wanting so badly to dedicate all their time to their kids, but at the same time having an insatiable want and need to be in the studio creating. They spoke about how interconnected the creation of a family has been to the creation of their work.

One artist, Janis Wunderlich, is a Mormon woman who was featured in the film. It was so interesting for me to watch her balance her life as a mother and artist and see how the two complimented each other. I found myself really getting emotional as I watched her with her family at one of her openings in Chicago. It was such a culminating moment for her, and I felt such a part of it as a spectator through the screen. There is a direct connection between motherhood and art, but I think that to be a mother and an artist, it takes a particular mix of spirit, drive, sacrifice and focus to pull it off.

While watching the film I felt a powerful surge within me telling me that yes, I can do this and it can be a bonding force within my home rather than this difficult choice between to great things. I want more than anything to be a mother, to be a wife, to be a cultivator, to be an artist. I want to build. I want to create. And the message that I got tonight is that I can.

I think that one of the most powerful pieces of advice that I got out of it is that all it takes is time every day. Wunderlich is a prolific artist, participating in 10 to 15 shows annually which means she is constantly pumping out work. But she runs a household of seven and spends most of her time with her kids. She says that some days it's only an hour, sometimes even less. But rather than wasting time feeling guilty about not spending more time or being frustrated that she never has enough time, she focuses that little bit of time in her studio. Obviously the little moments of time really add up.

She says that some of the most fulfilling moments in her life is when she is surrounded by her kids in her studio, them working on their own little projects, homework or whatnot, and she busily creating, and all of them engaging in a great conversation, informing each other's ideas and work. I want that. So. Badly.

What a great example so many of these women are. I felt today that I can do what I love and be who I know I want to be. It was empowering and also made me realize what a need we have to hear from those who are like us, to build us up, encourage us, and keep us all moving toward becoming more like the people we want to be.

1 comment:

GrittyPretty said...

you are the multi-tasker/chaos juggler extraordinaire. and that film was enlightening (i saw it the next night at the slc art center.)

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