Manitoban: A Celebration Of Women And Their Art
On Nov. 6, Winnipeg’s Gas Station Arts Centre will be brimming with talent as the centre showcases the 12th annual Girls! Girls! Girls! Gala. The gala, which started as an annual fundraising event for the arts centre, provides a space for female artists to showcase their works.
The theme of this year’s edition is Encore, and fittingly so, as there will be returning acts from past years. Artists and performers will reinvent old pieces, reinterpret themes of past years’ galas, and make previous acts and pieces their own.
The Girls! Girls! Girls! Gala is a two-for-one event: an art exhibition of around sixty pieces from twenty-five emerging and well-known artists, and a cabaret of various acts including theatre, contemporary dance, choir, and stand-up comedy.
The gala, which features exclusively female artists, celebrates and addresses the disparity of women in art. In recent times, great strides have been made to curb the menace of gender inequality in Canadian art communities. Many times, male artists are more celebrated and recognized than their female counterparts. More opportunities need to be made available for women to showcase their talent and creativity.
Karen Robb, a University of Manitoba alumna and one of the gala’s curators and artists, spoke to the Manitoban about the importance of this event and the need for female artists to be celebrated in a male-dominated profession.
“Making this [event] exclusively female highlights that [women] are strong in the art world and [are] able to hold [their] own in what, generally, can be described as a boy’s club,” Robb said.
U Of M Alumna’s Painting In The Running For National Award
When Zahra Baseri left Iran to study art in Manitoba, her goal was not to simply create pretty things. She wanted to use her creations to showcase her critical views and perspective of her cultural background. Today, the University of Manitoba alumna’s award-winning piece Outcry #3 is a part of her ongoing artistic series of paintings confronting gender inequalities in Iran.
Earlier this year, Baseri submitted this piece for the BMO Financial Group’s 14th annual BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art competition. The competition showcases works of student artists from universities across Canada. Her piece won the regional award for Manitoba, and she is up for the national award as well.
Baseri is an advocate of freedom. She believes that being able to decide how to present oneself is a key facet of freedom. In Iran, wearing the hijab is mandatory and women are required to shroud themselves in loose clothing. The government recommends women wear black chador – a very loose-fitting piece of typically black fabric.
Baseri believes that Iranian women are silenced in her home country, and she is speaking out against this issue through her piece.
“Imposing a restrictive dress code in the name of religion onto certain groups in society, women in this context, is violating human rights – violating women’s rights,” Baseri said.
Outcry #3 consists of eight photographs of Iranian women hidden behind black frames of 8mm plywood. She designed them using Adobe Illustrator and engraved them with lasers. The black frames have motifs characteristic of Islamic architecture.