How Will They Know We Were Here? 100 Years Beyond Women’s Suffrage
Marilyn Artus / Natalie Baxter / Amplifier
“Her Flag” is a nationwide art and travel project by Marilyn Artus to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the 72 years long nonviolent fight that kicked open voting 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 a 18’ x 26’ flag. Each artist created artwork inspired by the centennial, manifested as a stripe on “Her Flag.”
Artus began traveling in order of ratification in June of 2019 to each state and in a public performance, stitched each stripe onto “Her Flag” until February 2020 when Covid-19 hit the U.S. Artus reached 25 of the 36 states, before stopping her travel. She has been live streaming the sewing performances as originally scheduled with the collaborating artists. She will complete the journey on August 18, 2020 in Tennessee.
The culmination of the project will be a new flag sewn as a thank you and love letter to the states that ratified the 19th Amendment into law. The 8’ version of “Her Flag” exhibited in this show was created in tandem with the original version of “Her Flag.”
In addition to collaborating with 36 artists in each of the states that ratified the 19th Amendment, Artus invited an artist from each of these states to create a pin cushion that would be used during the performances.
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One year after the historic Women’s March on Washington, Amplifier and the Women’s March teamed up with partners across the country to channel energy and activism into tangible results in the 2018 midterm elections.
From an open call, a twelve-person curatorial team selected 50 works meant to energize swing-state voters, and inspire them to take to the polls and elect leaders who reflect American majority values. Amplifier printed more than 20,000 posters of the selected work, and distributed them for free to community partner events focused on civic engagement and democracy in over 30 cities and 20 different states nationwide. The images have also been wheat pasted in the streets, and distributed as bus shelter ad takeovers and massive installations. All of the images from the campaign are available for free download on amplifier.org.
For the 52nd anniversary of the “Voting Rights Act”, Amplifier worked with non-profit Rock the Vote and artist Ashley Lukashevsky to highlight voices that these policies threaten to silence. The series highlights the need to renew and strengthen this essential protection against discrimination in voter registration and access. The Voting Rights Act was intended to guarantee the elimination of racial discrimination in voting, however in 2013 the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder removed the preclearance clause, allowing for jurisdictions with a history of passing discriminatory voting laws to no longer be subject to oversight when passing voting laws that impact minority voters.
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Regions with a history of racial discrimination no longer have a federal oversight for their voting process. The 2016 presidential election marked the first time in 50 years without the protection of the preclearance clause. Therefore the last election cycle was marked not by record breaking turnout but by first time voter suppression laws in 15 states. Voter suppression takes many forms; voter ID laws, voter purges, cuts to early voting, restrictions to mail-in-voting, gerrymandering, and felony disenfranchisement. These increasingly rigid laws and ever-shifting rules make it particularly difficult for people of color, women, and new generations of voters to take part in our democracy.
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