How Will They Know We Were Here? 100 Years Beyond Women’s Suffrage
Marilyn Artus / Natalie Baxter / Amplifier
The Kniznick Gallery presents “HOW WILL THEY KNOW WE WERE HERE? 100 Years Beyond Women’s Suffrage.” The exhibition celebrates the power of civic participation in 2020 and acknowledges the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Constitutional amendment that granted some women the right to vote. The 19th Amendment of 1920 did not go far enough for Black and Indigenous women, however, and reflection upon a century as a milestone reminds us that partial progress is not whole progress.
The exhibition includes a large network of individual contributing artists featured through collaborative projects and works led by Marilyn Artus, Natalie Baxter and Amplifier. “HOW WILL THEY KNOW WE WERE HERE?” recognizes the power of visual art to inspire civic action and demonstrates that artists’ contributions within the political sphere are necessary tools for communication. Visual symbols that mirror the suffrage movement anchor the exhibition in familiar forms; American flags, hand-sewn banners, pin cushions, and demonstration posters. While these objects resonate with the histories of political action, they emerge from our present-day challenges and obstacles as contemporary artifacts. Traversing the digital and physical spaces that define our political landscape today, the works in the exhibition were created specifically to exert pressure in these arenas. Timed at the centennial of the 19th Amendment, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the movement for racial justice, and encompassing the polarizing 2020 Presidential election--HOW WILL THEY KNOW WE WERE HERE? 100 Years Beyond Women’s Suffrage” raises this question for a future generation that we hope to inspire.
“Her Flag” is a nationwide art project created by artist Marilyn Artus to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the 72-year period of resolute persistence that secured the first voting rights for women in the United States. Artus collaborated with a woman artist from each of the 36 states that ratified the 19th Amendment into law to create an 18’ x 26’ foot flag. Each contributing artist created artwork inspired by the centennial and her state history, to be manifested by Artus as a stripe on “Her Flag.” Traveling in the order of ratification starting in June 2019, Artus will have visited 29 states by the end of the project, with 7 state visits halted by Covid-19. She will complete the journey on August 18, 2020 in Tennessee. During the public performances in each state, Artus stitches the re-envisioned stripe to the flag. On display at the Kniznick Gallery, is the 6’ x 8’ version of “Her Flag.”
Natalie Baxter playfully pushes controversial issues that have become points of division in today’s social and political landscape. Through approachable work, she explores the expressions and swaying feelings of American patriotism. Through soft sculptures and quilted wall hangings she unpacks topics such as the debate over gun control, masculine aggression, gender biases, and the virtual rise of hate speech.
Amplifier is a design lab that builds art to amplify the voices of grassroots movements. They work with a community of social change partners, in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, to build symbols, language, and distribution strategies that attempt to change the national narrative. Amplifier draws from a deep portfolio of artists to commission new art, then distributes the work widely through creative space hacks, reaching new audiences and driving change. Featuring images from their “Power to the Polls” and “Let the People Vote” campaigns, the posters on display designed by artists Shannon Finnegan, Laci Jordan, Ashley Lukashevsky, Mel Valentine Vargas, and many more, address the ever-challenging topics surrounding voting rights and the voices they intend to magnify. All of the Amplifier images included in "How Will They Know We Were Here?" are available for free download on amplifier.org
July 17, 2020
Tune in for a live virtual performance from the Washington State Capitol Building. During the performance, Marilyn Artus will attach the 35th stripe on Her Flag, with contributing artist Erin Shigaki. More info
August 18, 2020
Join Marilyn Artus for a virtual live performance in Tennessee; the final destination of Her Flag. Together with contributing artist Higgins Bond, Artus will sew the 36th stripe on to Her Flag, culminating in the completion of her years long project to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. More info
September 15, 2020
Oklahoma-based artist Marilyn Artus gives a virtual artist lecture on her work and her years-long national art project to celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment, "Her Flag."
October 6, 2020
New York-based artist Natalie Baxter gives a virtual artist lecture on her work and process that explore American patriotism. Baxter reworks the standard displays of national pride to become bulbous and fringed American flags and sewn banners that pay tribute to the early Suffragists.
October 27, 2020
WSRC Scholar, museum educator and art historian, Annie Storr leads a virtual workshop in reflective looking using imagery from the Women’s Studies Research Center exhibition, “How Will They Know We Were Here? 100 Years Beyond Women’s Suffrage.” Storr, who wrote the essay for the exhibition catalog, developed Exercises for the Quiet Eye (EQE) to encourage patient reflection and an attempt to avoid the rush to understand, or determine a set interpretation for what we see. Through a series of adapted exercises specifically formatted for virtual participation, the focus is on finding new ways of experiencing art. The workshop will be held via ZOOM. Please have a pencil and pad of paper at hand.