In case you missed it, last Friday, February 3, was the Appleby Hall Art (AHA!) Gallery Opening of Bag Lady Manifesto. Every semester, the Women’s Center’s AHA! Gallery features an art show of student, faculty, staff, or community member’s art created with a vision of social justice.
This spring’s AHA! Gallery artist was Andrea Jenkins, a local trans rights activist and artist. Andrea is currently Board Chair of Intermedia Arts, and is an Oral Historian for the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota. Her latest book, “The T is Not Silent” was released in December 2015.
A meditation on Black women as consumers, as victims of economic violence, as carriers of the movement, when Black Lives Matter protestors shut down the Mall of America on Black Friday, 2014, it ignited an inquiry. Why did 3 Black, queer women start the movement, #BlackLivesMatter? Why are there mainly women and queer folks on the front lines when Black men are murdered in the streets?
I have collected bags from all over the country for the past 15 years, the bags and attending packaging represent the consumer culture that we are all complicit in, and serve as the foundation for the piece Yes the song “Bag Lady” by Erykah Badu comes to mind when considering this work, and the attendant words from Ms. Badu and Harriet Tubman stands true, “To my folks on the picket line/Don’t stop till you change their mind/I got love for my folks/Baptized when the levee broke/We gon’ keep marching’ on/Till we hear that Freedom song/and if you think about turning back/I’ve got a shotgun for your back.”
If you or someone you know would like to be the featured artist/group in Appleby Hall Art Gallery, please contact the Women’s Center at firstname.lastname@example.org