Inspiring Idea from Bulgaria:
Create a Group Painting for SWAN Day
Dear Women in the Arts & Media Coalit,
For the past four years Dessi Dimova and the other women of SWAN Festival Bulgaria
have found wonderfully creative ways to bring the spirit of Support Women Artists Now Day to their country. Their past SWAN events have included a variety of exhibits, performances, and workshops, including a class where people learned how to make swan designs with the steamed milk in their cappucinos!
If you are looking for a fun SWAN project for visual artists, the Bulgarian women created a great model last year. For SWAN Day 2014 they recruited 8 women artists to create a group painting in the middle of the upscale Bulgaria Mall in Sofia. They decided to create a larger-than-life woman's face that would reflect the theme of diversity.
The final piece (which you can see in more detail on their Facebook page
) is created of twelve canvases which are each one foot square. Each artist painted or used collage techniques to create one or two squares, and the composite woman's face has a wonderful variety of textures and racial/ethnic characteristics. The prominent multi-colored eyes suggest the power of women working together and looking hopefully towards the future.
You could do a SWAN group painting anywhere, but it was an inspired touch for the Bulgarian women to create this giant Amazon face in the midst of a busy shopping mall so that the shoppers could have a direct connection with women artists and a woman-centered work. As an added bonus, young women in classic swan ballet costumes passed out refreshments to the shoppers and gave them information about SWAN Day.
Bulgarian women artists show their work at SWAN Day 2014
Asian American Women Create "A Place of Her Own"
Over the past six months fine artist Cynthia Tom
and Trinity Ordona, Ph.D., of City College of San Francisco's Healing for Change Center
, have collaborated with the Asian American Women Artists Association
and the Asian Women's Shelter
to offer A Place of Her Own
, a unique arts & healing program for Asian-Pacific American women in social services.
As their program syllabus
explains, almost all of the family support and social services in the Asian-Pacific American community are provided by Asian-Pacific American women. These women service providers are at serious risk of burn-out because of the silencing and submissive cultural behaviors that are “expected” of Asian-Pacific American women. It is culturally taboo for Asian-Pacific American women to seek help for depression.
Cynthia Tom and Trinity Ordona have designed A Place of Her Own to help women build personal strength and clarity from the inside out by combining meditation techniques with creative art modalities that relieve stress and heal burnout. The participants study the chakras and meditation techniques, participate in discussions, do written exercises, and are asked to create art works in response to the questions “If you had a place of your own, what would it be? What kind of space would fully express your imagination and values?
The exercises help the participants clarify their own aspirations and address individual, family and cultural patterns of dysfunction in a supportive environment. No arts background is required since the art works are usually created from found objects, and skilled artists are on hand to guide any participants who need assistance. The long term goal of this project is to generate a sense of community and creative space for women to reconnect with themselves, reverse patterns of trauma and make their hopes and dreams visible.