Remembering the Suffragists, 100 years of Women Voting in the United States
Curatorial Statement from guest curator Patricia Moss-Vreeland Creating this online exhibition, Remembering the Suffragists; 100 Years of Women Voting in the United States, I wanted to engage a large network of artists by making it an Open Call. I invited their participation in recognition of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and questioned what that means to us as womxn, as well as to draw a connection to current and ongoing inequalities that still must be fought. I asked artists, how does this moment in time bring meaning to you? Art’s ability to represent history and personal narrative is its own form of activism.
Democracy gives us the right to vote and ultimately depends on the vote of the American people. It’s hard to imagine a world where voting is prohibited, based on sex or skin color or any other categorization. It’s also hard to imagine a world where women are not allowed to work, to have their own last name, or even to use a credit card without their husband’s co-signature. Though inroads have been made, the push for justice and equality is far from over. Those seemingly liberating constitutional words that ‘all men are created equal,’ despite being indisputably true, have not yet been fulfilled. This exhibit provides a unique opportunity to look at a historic moment through the thought provoking and powerfully distilling lens of art, and to initiate needed dialogue and thought. According to Robyn Muncy, a historian at the University of Maryland: “It was important to see the nineteenth amendment not as a triumphant culmination, but one landmark in a struggle for equal rights for all citizens that isn’t over yet.” Perhaps, like the suffragists one hundred years ago, our current crises including the pandemic, economic collapse, racial injustice, and justified mistrust of government could ultimately fuel real, needed change in this country. So, go see the exhibit, and participate in the ongoing conversation. And most of all, go vote! Your ancestors fought hard to allow you that right. Use it.