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Art for every ‘body’

Local artists who identify as women have put together an exhibition of art aimed at reclaiming the social narrative of their bodies.

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Reported By Christina Dommer

The latest exhibit at a local gallery is an opportunity for artists who identify as women to empower women to reclaim the narrative of their own bodies.

The “some body, anybody” exhibit being held at the South Main Gallery on Main Street. The one-room gallery is hosting the show until the 24th. Works from artists Moody Rose Christopher, M.E. Sparks, Gabriela Godoi, Sara Khan, and Sharona Franklin are on display.

Thoughtfully curated

Curator Luiza Brenner has always been interested in how women are portrayed in art.

“To be in a gallery or a museum, usually, you have to be naked,” Brenner said, of classical nudes created by men. Brenner was influenced by the work of the Guerilla Girls, an anonymous group of female artists that criticize depictions of women in art.

“I liked the idea of interfering with that narrative and giving women the power to portray their relationship to the body themselves.”

Brenner said that she personally knew the artists already before putting the exhibit together. She gave

each of the artists the freedom to choose what they thought suited the theme of “some body, anybody”.

“I didn’t want to impose, so I didn’t go looking for specific work,” she said. “I just wanted to see what they would show me.” Brenner also made sure to include a variety of perspectives in the exhibit, including those of trans and disabled artists.

Starting the conversation

One of those such artists was Moody Rose Christopher, who contributed several colourful pieces to the exhibit. Christopher, who herself is transgender, lives in Vancouver but is from Vermont.

“I have thoughts and opinions focused on queer narratives, mental illness and the absurdity of human behavior and social [categorization],” Christopher said, in an emailed statement.

She also said the exhibit was important because of its highlighting of marginalized women and broadcasting their perspectives to a broader audience.

As well, fellow artist Gabriela Godoi said she “feels that art is there to open up dialogue, new perspectives and ideas.”

Godoi did her masters research on identity and sexuality at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and said she wanted to express sexuality and the body in a less explicit way.

“There’s an ambiguity to these images where you’re not really sure if it’s a violent act that [the figures] are taking part in, or of a loving situation. You’re constantly trying to grow into the narrative.”

The female body

Artist Sara Khan brings another unique perspective to the gallery, born in England and raised in Pakistan, she now lives in Vancouver, though she spoke to The Langara Voice from maternity leave in Lahore.

It feels very different to be in her body right now, with a two-month old daughter to care for.

“You don’t realize how much your body can do, as a woman,” said Khan. “A lot of art will definitely come out of that experience.”

As a woman of colour, she hopes to bring many personal experiences to the viewers.

“Paintings or narratives I put out there are for people to relate to, either as a woman, or as a Pakistani woman, or as a human from another country, whatever. As long as it brings perspective, I’m happy.”

Photos by Christina Dommer

Watch a video from within the “some body, anybody” exhibit by editor Darren Amner:

 

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