title. Own Your Cervix
city. Chicago Sullivan Galleries & Toronto Tangled Art Gallery
I always want to see something
Better if I can feel something,
Better if I can make something
I want to understand my body,
Not to control it,
But to live and enjoy it.
Own Your Cervix uses porcupine quills, glass beads, damask patterns, and menstrual blood to consider how our bodies are defined physically and culturally. A Western progress narrative often assumes an irrelevance of feminist practice, but we will never be done making meaning of our gendered and cultured bodies. Furthermore, a feminist body practice is far from irrelevant in current social and political contexts.
European and Native iconography, materials and processes of embellishment are present throughout the exhibition. In textile language, embellishment has a connection to pattern and decoration, which is referenced through the repeat pattern and stencil designs. The clothing, furniture, and wallpaper that make up the exhibition are utilitarian forms which have been marginalized and devalued. This history of establishing a hierarchy of artistic practice in relation to primarily domestic art forms, often done by women, runs parallel to the history of Indigenous art practices that were, and are, similarly devalued in the western canon. In this context, the viewer experiences the gendered space also as a cultural space - where they can consider how their bodies relate to what is being presented. Dion Fletcher invites a literal and metaphorical introspection by using the space to host activities including cervical self-exams.