On my way to work, it becomes apparent that the cultural divide between east and west grows daily even though the world is becoming smaller. Over the past few months I have been exposed to perspectives from many women from many different social backgrounds. If I had not been shown through art that there are kindred spirits even in cultures so extreme from mine, then the divisions between women of color or women of a different god or women of a
different political party could have been frighteningly
erected through my whole internal system. The great divide, separating me from like-minded women, could have been fully operational even without me being aware of it at first. Just because of cultural differences, which we associate with an enemy.
That said, I have been moved by two women with such unique styles and visual voices yet
both brought up with strong Islamic influence.
They both address our complex modern issues and taboos as women who are a product of
the west as well as the east.
Shirin Neshat arrests your heart with her photo series "Women of Allah" where exposed
skin is covered in Farsi. Text by other Iranian female
writers, who cover the topic of female sexuality, is what is
written on the body of each woman in her arresting
Just a needle and thread is all Ghada Amer needs to shock and titillate, free you from
your troubles, and pull you into her world where you
cannot help but be aroused. Aroused no different than a
man can be with a female erotic object. Do you walk away
empowered by an expression of sexual feminism or do you
walk away having to come to terms with the picture of
women as erotic sexual objects as desirable? Herein lies the
massive difference between cheap thrill girly mags and art
with sex as subject. You cannot escape the effectiveness
that "toying with control" has, which some of these
women artists are addressing, as they tackle the
multifaceted subject of female sexuality. In the case of
Ghada Amer the viewer is agreeing to take part in viewing
women as erotic objects because her technique screams "a
modern chick can still knit" as you the viewer drinks in
these poses of pornographic women, poses that you will
find on a man's sex for sale wish list.
There are installations that come and go without me calling up friends and telling them.
"This is something you have to see." But I was curious on how some of my friends would
react as more women's art on this topic arrives for the
opening next week.