Tuesday, April 4, 2023

UNITWIN Director, Dr. Brenda Gael McSweeney, invited to show her artwork at UVA's latest exhibit!

Dr. Brenda Gael McSweeney, Director of the BU-based UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture, and People-Centered Development, had her artwork included in the most recent Unbound Visual Arts' exhibition! See more below. Compiled by Nicole Rizzo.

Dr. McSweeney's photograph titled "Village and Global Women Leaders in West Africa" emerges from an historical moment where women of Burkina Faso engaged in tending the land as a part of climate justice-focused practice. 

According to McSweeney, this photograph captures at left Habibou Ouédraogo, Women's Leader in the village of Zimtenga, Kongoussi Zone, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) and at right, Scholastique Kompaoré, National Coordinator of the UNESCO Project for Equal Access of Women and Girls to Education in the 1970s. They are debating the challenges of gender injustice, including the subordination of women and girls and violence against them, lack of climate protection, and income inequality. They militated to implement programs in income-poor villages to lighten women's and girls' oppressive workloads, to ensure climate justice, and to free up time and energy for educational and lucrative activities -- against all odds. Often the men of the Project villages were persuaded to join in to help achieve these goals in the interest of community advancement and harmony. Mme. Kompaoré went on to champion gender and climate justice and inter-communal communication with the United Nations directing programs at the community level across Africa. She subsequently was President of her country's chapter of Marche Mondiale des Femmes/World March of Women that aims to eliminate discrimination and violence against women.

John Quatrale, UVA Executive Director
Photo by Blanca Diaz

Kudos to Curator Jingyi (Tina) Wang and her team as well as to all participating Artists, Officers of UVA, and sponsors, on timely and thought-provoking exhibition!

Exhibition on Climate Equity: A Better Future For All

Organized and presented by Unbound Visual Arts and curated by Jingyi (Tina) Wang

Artists: Nancer Ballard, Mary Barton-Lech, Gwen Cory, Nancy Crasco, Samantha Fein, Elizabeth Lapides, Pauline Lim, Elisandra Lopes, Chelsea Martel-White, Michael McLaughlin, Alex Miklowski, Shelby Myerhoff, Brenda Gael McSweeney, Matthew Okazaki, Katha Seidman, Diana Stelin 

Exhibit Assistants - Jessica Hernandez, Mila Roemer, Natalie Schweikhart, Shuxian Zhang

February 23 - March 31, 2023

Panel Discussion and Wine Reception - Friday March 31, 2023 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Opening Reception:  Saturday, February 25, 2023

Live keyboard music by Mae Siu Wai Stroshane and refreshments

Arthaus Art Exhibit Gallery - 43 N. Beacon St., Allston, MA


Curator's Statement:

These days, most of us probably have already heard the term “climate change” a million times — we are all well aware of what it means and what things should be done to save the environment — but what about “climate equity”?

Environmental equity means both protection from environmental hazards as well as access to environmental benefits for all, regardless of income, race, and other characteristics. Climate change has affected the poorest population around the world most drastically, creating “climate refugees”. According to Mercy Corps “nearly 70% of all new displacements in the first six months of last year were the result of weather-related disasters, with a total of 9.8 million people around the world driven from their homes by shocks like drought, hurricanes, and landslides — around 50,000 people every day”, and “if sea levels continue to rise without intervention, many of those living near the ocean — about 40 percent of the world’s population — will be at risk of losing their homes”. 

The good news is that many people are actively seeking a solution. For instance, the Equity Fund is investing in the leadership in Black, Latinx, AAPI, and indigenous communities bearing the brunt of climate change. By engaging voters in these communities, they are getting climate and clean energy policy solutions that reflect communities' priorities and advancing racial, economic, and environmental justice.

Here at UVA, we also want to do our parts. In “Climate Equity: A Better Future For All," we are aiming  to address the long-ignored issue of climate equity, and let more people know that not everyone is provided the resources to “go green”. We want our audience to know that the environmental crisis is not only about sustainability, but also resources and power. The participating artists are lending their  voices to the unheard to tell the story that has been lingering outside the public’s sight.

Some of the artworks in this exhibit:

Top row:

Brenda Gael McSweeney, Village and Global Women Leaders in West Africa

Pauline Lim, Thaddeus Bartlett’s House, Skinnerville View

Samantha Fein

Bottom row:

Katha Seidman

Michael McLaughlin

Alex Miklowski

Source for above materials: https://www.unboundvisualarts.org/climate-equity-a-better-future-for-all/

New Publication: A Few Good Gays: The Gendered Compromises Behind Military Inclusion by Dr. Cati Connell

Former Director of WGS, Dr. Catherine 'Cati' Connell, recently had a new monograph titled A Few Good Gays: The Gendered Compromises Behind Military Inclusion published by University of California Press in December 2022. Cati was Director of WGS from 2017 through June 2022.

Photo courtesy of WGS Newsletter for 2021-2022

Check out the description on Google Books: https://books.google.com/books/about/A_Few_Good_Gays.html?id=WHyIEAAAQBAJ

Three cheers for Cati on this fabulous accomplishment!!!

UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Affiliate Ronni Komarow's latest exhibition!

UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Affiliate Ronni Komarow recently had her work on display in the exhibit titled There Goes the Neighborhood hosted by Galatea Fine Art. This exhibit ran from March 3rd through April 2nd. Ronni's exhibit explores the tensions between community homeowners and larger entities that seek to diminish physical spaces within neighborhood communities in favor of overbuilding and commercialization. See more here: https://www.galateafineart.com/

Ronni Komarow in front of her artwork
Photograph courtesy of Eric West

Photographer Eric West reflects on the opening night of the exhibition such that "[it] was a well attended opening ... Ronni’s piece elicited an abundance of 'Wows' …and people generally responded well to the work. Over-building is something that resonates."

Artist Statement from the Exhibit

For years I've been constantly getting letters from real-estate developers, offers to buy my house in Brighton, a neighborhood of Boston. Some are straight-forward business letters. Others are made to look like hand-written notes, arriving in greeting-card-style envelopes. These letters are full of promises, though I have no doubt that the beneficiary of such a deal would not be me. Many of my neighbors get these same letters, sometimes with dollar bills enclosed in the envelopes.

As an artist I knew that something creative could be done with all these letters, and I've collected them for the past several years. This installation includes roughly 250 paper houses covered with letters that I received from developers.

The installation is a statement about neighborhood preservation, and the fragility of urban communities. 

Visitors are welcome to purchase a paper house for $10 with proceeds going to the Boston Preservation Alliance. See the display near the entrance to this gallery.

I wish to thank my collaborators on this project without whom this installation would not have been possible: Eric West, Isaac West, Susan Jones, and Harry Busteed.

Here's a sample of the houses in Ronni's installation:

Photo courtesy of Brenda Gael McSweeney

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

New Publication: Madwomen in Social Justice Movements, Literatures, and Art

One of our UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Affiliates, Nicole Rizzo, recently had the chapter "Mad Time: On Temporality, Trauma, Hysterical Figures, and Liminal Shifters in Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse” published in a peer reviewed collection titled, Madwomen in Social Justice Movements, Literatures, and Art, edited by Jessica Lowell Mason and Nicole Crevar, and published by Vernon Press in November 2022. 

Nicole is a third-year PhD Student at Indiana University Bloomington focusing on twentieth-century and contemporary American and British literature, modernism, postmodern drama, trauma studies, disability studies, gender & sexuality studies, queer theory, critical race theory, and performance studies. Three cheers for Nicole on her first peer reviewed publication!

For more, see: 
Rizzo, Nicole Ann. “Mad Time: On Temporality, Trauma, Hysterical Figures, and Liminal Shifters in Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse.”Madwomen in Social Justice Movements, Literatures, and Art, edited by Jessica Lowell Mason and Nicole Crevar, Vernon Press, 2022, pp. 93-114.

Photo courtesy of Nicole Rizzo

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Save the Date for the Upcoming Unbound Visual Arts Exhibition: A Woman's Work is Never Done!

Save the Date!

A Woman's Work is Never Done: Women in the Arts

Organized and presented by Unbound Visual Arts - Opening Reception: Friday March 31, 2023, 7:00 - 9:00 pm ET

Curated by Paige Moreau 

Exhibit Assistants - Jingyi Wang, Minhao Yang, Shuxian Zhang, Tricia Park

Arthaus Art Exhibit Gallery - 43 N. Beacon St., Allston, MA

Call for art

This exhibition will investigate the malleable definition of women’s work in the field, in the home, and, importantly, in the arts. While women’s participation in the labor market steadily increased in the second half of the 20th century, participation has plateaued and even slightly declined as we move through the 21st century. Further, women’s workforce labor (distinguished from domestic labor) was disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as more women lost employment than men or remained home to provide child care during school closures. These statistics and events have been met with calls for increased affordable childcare resources, emphasis on paid family leave, and initiatives to close the gender pay gap. According to U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Janet Yellen, via the Brookings Institute, if the obstacles of underrepresentation, unreasonable work-life balance, and pay disparities consist, we will squander the potential of our citizens and our economic growth. So where does that leave us? At this moment, where do women conceive of themselves in terms of “work” and how do we value the different conceptions of women’s work? 

Many recent exhibitions in the greater Boston area have highlighted the work of women artists as well as objects that are specifically designed for women’s work i.e. childcare and domestic chores. Between 2019 and 2021 the MFA Boston mounted the exhibition Women Take the Floor.  Drawing largely from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition strove to challenge 20th-century narratives by centering the often overlooked and underrepresented work of women artists. On view through December 18, 2022 the Mass Art Art Museum is hosting the exhibition Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births which investigates the material culture surrounding contraception, pregnancy, birth and beyond allowing us a window into how women’s roles are conceived of via design. Additionally we continually see monographic exhibitions dedicated to women artists that question the canon of art and insert women’s voices into political and racial justice discourses including Frida Kahlo: POSE at the Rose Art Museum in 2020 and Sonya Clark: Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in 2021. A Woman's Work is Never Done: Women in the Arts will join this ongoing conversation and will assert that the work of women in the arts to carve out an equal space is an ongoing process. 

Greater Boston-area female-identifying artists are invited to submit work to A Woman's Work is Never Done: Women in the Arts. Art in all mediums will be considered for this exhibition including but not limited to, 2D images, sculpture, video, poetry, recorded performance, etc. We are seeking artwork that explores and engages women’s identities, challenges preconceived notions of women’s roles in labor and contends with the history of women’s art and the mediums that have traditionally been considered “women’s work” i.e. crafts, ceramics, fiber arts, etc. Are the mediums women work in neutral? Is there something inherently feminine about women’s art? Where do you conceive of yourself and your female peers in the workforce? How does labor, physical or metaphysical, play into your work?

Image credit: A Woman's Work Is Never Done, See Red Women's Poster Collective, poster, 1976, Victoria and Albert Museum, E.1714-2004

Below are some example works we selected from previous exhibits


(From top to bottom, left to right:

Andrea Zampitella, Suzie Homemaker, #2

Nancer Ballard, Run Like a Girl

Nilou Moochhala, Singular Multiplexity

Ruth Rieffanaugh, Finding Strength in Broken Places)

Source for material above: https://www.unboundvisualarts.org/a-womans-work-is-never-done-women-in-the-arts/

Sunday, October 16, 2022

UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture, and People-Centered Development Congratulates UNESCO on 30th UNITWIN Chairs Programme Anniversary!

Please see our congratulatory video highlighting some of our UNESCO/UNITWIN Network's accomplishments in honor of the UNITWIN Chairs Programme 30th Anniversary below:

Brenda Gael McSweeney, PhD

UNITWIN Director at BU and Co-Coordinator with Susanne Sreedhar, PhD, Director BU's WGS Program

Photo credits:
Top Left: Unbound Visual Arts (UVA)
Top Middle: Kassia Karr
Top Right: Mousumi Murmu
Bottom Middle: Cover painting, "Another Side of India": © Anuradha Dey (Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India)
Bottom Left and Right: "Gender Perspectives in Case Studies Across Continents" series in conjunction with Gloria Bonder and the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender, Buenos Aires, published by UNESCO Paris

Video prepared with Nicole Rizzo, UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Research Associate

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Congresswoman Ayanna Presley visits UVA's Arthaus Gallery!

Unbound Visual Arts, a UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Affiliate, received a visit from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley at the new Arthaus Gallery! See more of the story here: https://www.unboundvisualarts.org/visit-by-congresswoman-pressley/

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley visited UVA's Arthaus Gallery on September 1st.  She was very impressed with the gallery, Unbound Visual Arts and the current Inspiring Change for the Climate Crisis exhibit. On hand were several members of the UVA Board of Directors and Council of Advisors, UVA interns and the curator.  The Congresswoman toured the exhibit and took questions on a delightful Thursday afternoon.  She expressed her interest in art that expresses joy and has meaning.   The Congresswoman was also very interested in our last two exhibits - Invisible Disabilities and Emerging from Refuge.

Source: https://www.unboundvisualarts.org/visit-by-congresswoman-pressley/

Original photos courtesy of John Quatrale

Friday, July 8, 2022

Check out BU/WGS's Latest Newsletter from 2021-2022!

Our UNESCO/UNITWIN Network host institution, Boston University's Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program, has just distributed the Annual Newsletter for 2021-2022! Please see page 16 for the accomplishments of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network that features our Network Affiliates Gloria Bonder, who heads up the UNESCO Regional Chair on Women, Science and Technology in Latin America as well as the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender, and Unbound Visual Arts with its new Arthaus Gallery!

See the WGS Newsletter here: http://www.bu.edu/wgs/files/2022/07/WGSNewsletter2021-2022.pdf

Below: screenshot from WGS Newsletter (original photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash; design and copyediting by WGS's Olivia McCargar)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Tribute to Gloria Bonder & The UNESCO Regional Chair on Women, Science and Technology in Latin America (based in Buenos Aires) on its 20th Anniversary

Gloria Bonder, who heads up both this Regional Chair and the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender, has worked tirelessly herself and guiding her colleagues to celebrate the feminist achievements of scholars worldwide. Her partnership with our Boston University-based UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture and People-Centered Development led to invaluable collaboration on volumes of Gender Perspectives in Case Studies Across Continents that we co-edit and co-publish. For the near future, I suggest that the stellar work of the Regional Chair merits the preparation and publication of a case study in our joint "Women & UN Origins" series, showcasing both challenges the Chair confronted and its accomplishments as a model contributor to the global dialogue promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. (From Brenda’s Tribute on behalf of the UNESCO/UNITWIN on the Regional Chair’s 20th Anniversary Jumbotron). Prof. Asha Mukherjee of our UNITWIN Network in India contributed a Tribute focusing on female training and education in West Bengal (see tributes below). “Brava” Gloria & team! (Photo credit: en.unesco.org)

Interactive Jumbotron website: http://www.catunescomujer.org/20aniversario/