INDIRA CESARINE “BOUND UP TOGETHER: ON THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT” AT SMACK MELLON
Bound up Together: On the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment was organized in the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and as Black Lives Matter protests erupted around the world. The exhibition centers on the achievements that granted some women the right to vote and the pervasive and enduring intersections of racism, sexism and misogyny that disfigure American culture and society. Moving between a mythological past and an uncertain future, Bound up Together highlights myriad ways in which women’s experiences and interdependent histories are entangled in the very structures that deny intersectional nuances and complexities. The exhibition presents video, installation, works on paper, painting, photography, sculpture, sound, performance and participatory programs that represent the likenesses, voices, memories and collective experiences of countless women and their communities in works that honor, agitate and imagine new possibilities.
At the center of Bound up Together is a portrait wall honoring a spectrum of women from Biblical figures to unsung activists in artworks by Indira Cesarine, Maya Ciarrocchi, Vladimir Cybil Charlier, Mary Dwyer, and Valerie Suter. Speaking to the absence of public sculptures of women, Christine Biaggi, Julia Justo, LuLu LoLo, and Yvonne Shortt conceived of monuments designed by and for the people. Agitation and protest are manifest in the narratives underlying works by Donna Bassin, Zoë Buckman, Alicia Grullón, Katrina Majkut, Ameya Okamoto, and Shellyne Rodriguez.
The advances of birth control and gynecological oncology are linked to a dark history of science intertwined with eugenics and colonialism in installations by Debora Hirsch and Iaia Filiberti, and by Natalia Almonte. Personal testimonies in video works by Symone Knox and Stephanie J. Woods reflect on racialized oppression and representation, and the recontextualization of past texts and histories in works by Elizabeth Moran, Andrea Ray, and Adinah Dancyger & Mykki Blanco offer critical reexaminations that speak to a need for inclusive representation in the media and government.
Rooted in history and storytelling, the works in Bound up Together reflect on the ongoing struggle for intersectional human rights through citations that embody the political argument that the “personal is political.” Referencing moments of agitation as well as individual and collective acts of protest, the exhibition and programs touch on many of the antecedents that reverberate in our current political moment, activating spaces in between for remembering women and their histories.
Also featured: Indira Cesarine’s “Harriet” neon portrait inspired by activist and abolitionist Harriet Tubman.