It feels like every day there is a new CNN update that pops on my phone that just scares the living daylights out of me. Executive orders, cabinet appointees, travel bans, and environmental concerns are just a few of the daily notifications I see on my phone. A question that keeps coming up amongst my peers is what change can we really make? How do we make change if we can’t go out and protest every cause we believe in? Consider art.
On February 10, I drove to Leverett Massachusetts. On a white church there is a sign that says “Welcome refugees and immigrants” and then on the lawn in front there is a sign that reads “Nasty Women art exhibit, Barnes Gallery.”
All of the art work in the gallery was politically charged, and all of the proceeds went to the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts. ARFWM is one of the first abortion clinics in the country, they raise money and give it to women who need abortions and cannot afford them. “Let me tell you there are many many women in western Massachusetts who cannot afford them,” said Mary Russo, President of the ARFWM.
Madeleine Conover, a contributor to the exhibit had a pice titled “My Body, My Choice.” It is based off of why reproductive rights and justice, and planned parenthood is important. “They’re really important for everyone not just for women. They’re important for unplanned pregnancies and giving rights to those who need it the most and the support from that,” said Conover. The piece includes images of an IUD, Plan B, birth control, and some other forms of contraception.
“ I hope people can get something from this piece. They can see the different form of contraception and emergency contraception and why Planned Parenthood needs to be federally funded,” said Conover.
Another piece by artist Haley Mcdevitt also targeted reproductive health. Her piece was titled “Control.”
“The point of my piece was to show the disconnect of clear information that people have about reproductive options. Like I have a piece of a nuva-ring and other form of birth control that are distanced from the viewer with this abstracted field of red. I really wanted my viewers to reflect on how information and facilities can be given to people and give them access and an easier understanding of their choices,” said Mcdevitt.
Mcdevitt is right, many people aren’t quite sure about their options when it comes to their reproductive health. There are over 20 different forms of birth control methods on the Planned Parenthood website, and once you figure out what type of birth control you want, there are different brands with different amounts of hormones. It can get very overwhelming and confusing. But, education and exposure could help with that confusion.
This art show in Leverett was not an outlier. There were Nasty Women art exhibitions in NYC, Australia, Belgium, Portugal and England.
“ Art and media is everywhere it is constantly affect how people are thinking, he way things are processing what’s going on, how people are coping, and leading people in any direction where they want to go from where they are right now and how they can shape the future,” said Mcdevitt.
So grab your pencil, paintbrush, or digital animator and start resisting.