‘Future is Feminist’ at West Orange Arts Center

Women artists explore feminism in WOAC exhibition

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — “The Future is Feminist” and it is now in West Orange. The mixed media show of art made by women is hanging on the walls of the West Orange Arts Center. Curated by Marina Carreira, the show is on display at the Valley Road gallery until July 27, and includes work by women of various races, sexualities, gender expressions, sizes and abilities. It’s the brainchild of Carreira, a member of the West Orange Arts Council and her own work is also in the show.

“With the #MeToo movement and others, I really wanted to show the things that are important to me as a feminist and what it looks like for everyone else,” Carreira said in an interview with the West Orange Chronicle at a reception for the show on July 13. “I wanted to show a future full of women that are happy and fulfilled.”

Carreira wanted to showcase the work of women she feels aren’t always highlighted in art galleries.

“I wanted it to be all women and women-identifying artists, because I think they and queer artists are not as celebrated in the art space,” she said. “You always want to talk about motherhood, but there’s also race, age and androgyny. I really wanted to show that this is the way we could be if we pay attention to those people.”

Luisa F. Pinzon Romero has three pieces in the show, all of which are centered around herself and her native country of Colombia. Her pieces are self-portraits onto which she photoshopped masks from Colombia onto her face. 

“I think in South America the word ‘America’ is being taken away from us,” Romero said in an interview with the Chronicle at the event. “I love being American now, but I’m also proud of being Colombian.”

There’s a reason Romero, who used to be a photojournalist, uses her own image to make art.

“I use myself a lot because it’s easier to tell my story and not someone else’s,” she said. “When you tell a story you can play around with a photo. I’m telling the story through me being a woman and an immigrant, and an American as well.”

Not all the art included in the show is in a flat frame, and Danielle Scott’s work falls into that category. Her art jumps off the wall in boxes, with metal keys, braided synthetic hair and leather pieces. Scott’s pieces are meant to illustrate the #MeToo movement and other women’s movements.

“I wanted to show anything with women and what they’re going through,” she said in an interview with the Chronicle at the event. “With the keys, it’s asking ‘If there’s a woman and you’re harassing her, are you going to go through all of those doors?’”

Scott, who also teaches art at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City, is primarily an oil painter. She said she became bored with the canvas, though, and decided to use other materials to make three-dimensional art.

“I like to assemble and touch,” Scott said. “And the message is there; it’s clearer in 3D.”

Carreira hopes the WOAC show moves the community and other artists to support and encourage the art of women — especially as the thought-provoking art made by 12 different artists is on display locally. Their pieces, Carreira said, play off one another in ways that are still surprising her, even after the show was hung.

“The more I look at it, the more similarities I see,” she said. “I hope it encourages people to think about it, and I hope they support women’s art as well.”

Photos by Amanda Valentovic