As women and nonbinary artists march into the 21st Century, there are a myriad of possibilities regarding our placement in the annals of world history. We have seen promising movement forward while simultaneously watching that forward movement slip away in bits and pieces, both nationally and internationally. The proverbial two steps forward only to be knocked back four steps is an ever-present reality. The battle for equal rights seems never-ending.
We Know Who We Are. We Know What We Want. is an exhibition that examines how the idea of feminism continues to be one that has many definitions, depending on the lens through which it is viewed. Vicki Meek invited artists, “whose artwork and lives intrigue me and who all take an unapologetic view of their world, to come together in a collective conversation around issues of feminism and humanism. Each of them speaks their truth about belonging or not belonging, about sisterhood, about othering, about justice or injustice, and about the amplification of their voices on all of these topics.”
Vicki Meek is a nationally recognized artist, independent curator and writer who has exhibited widely. Meek’s work is in the permanent collections of The Africa American Museum in Dallas, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and Paul Quinn College. She is currently represented by Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, TX. Art League Houston just announced the selection of Meek as the 2021 Texas Artist of the Year. She recently had a retrospective exhibition of 3 decades of her work at the Houston Museum of African American Culture and a solo exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center. In 2013, she was selected as one of ten artists to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Nasher Sculpture Center with the commissioning of a site-specifific installation. She has been awarded three public art commissions with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Art Program and was a co-artist on the Dallas Convention Center Public Art Project, the city’s largest public art project. She served on the board of National Performance Network from 2008-15 and was Chair from 2012-2014. Meek is currently a full-time artist and COO of USEKRA: Center for Creative Investigation in Costa Rica, a retreat founded by Elia Arce.
Nida Bangash, Lauren Cross, Rehab El Sadek, Angela Faz, Pallavi Govindnathan, Lahib Jaddo, Pat Johnson, Lovie Olivia, & Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga
Interdisciplinary artist Nida Bangash was born in Iran and raised in Pakistan. Utilizing intricate patterns and precise details, Bangash’s works weave in personal identity and experience to investigate the complexities of immigration, colonialism, culture, and race. Bangash earned a MA in Visual Arts from the National College of Arts in Lahore and an MFA from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, Bangash received the Charles Wallace Arts Fellowship to study at the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts in London.
Lauren Cross is an interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker, curator, and scholar whose work has been screened and exhibited across the country. Cross earned a BA in Art, Design, and Media from Richmond, the American International University in London, England, and an MFA in Visual Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has a Ph.D in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies from Texas Woman’s University. She is a passionate advocate for diversity in the arts, and has written and contributed research in fields of women’s studies, visual studies, and multicultural studies.
Born in Egypt, Rehab El Sadek is a conceptual artist whose career has spanned over 25 years, working and exhibiting in 17 countries and on 4 continents. Utilizing media such as sound, photography, sculpture, and the written word, she explores issues related to immigration, belonging, communication, and language. She earned a BFA in painting from Alexandria University, Egypt.
A native of Dallas, Angela Faz is a multi-disciplinary artist focusing on creating community. As a printmaker for over twenty years, in 2020, Faz co-founded Nopalistxs to fill the public streets with images and words to support emotional and mental health, share resources, and inspire people to dream of more than just the future. Faz holds a BA in Visual Communications from Collins College in Tempe, Arizona. Their handcarved print Collective Care was recently acquired by the Library of Congress.
Pallavi Govindnathan is a multidisciplinary visual artist who was born in India, and grew up in Thailand. She moved to the U.S. to pursue an undergraduate degree in Fine Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She completed a Post-Baccalaureate and Masters degrees in Painting and New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute. Calling various geographical locations her home, she has dedicated her academic life to studying cultural and social norms that violate human rights, focusing primarily on women.
Lahib Jaddo creates her work through processes of improvisation and self-discovery exploring questions of identity and home in the context of diaspora. Jaddo was born in Baghdad in 1955 and spent her childhood in Iraq until her family was exiled to Beirut, Lebanon in 1965. At 22, she moved to the U.S. and continued her education in architecture and art, and for twenty years she served as a professor at the College of Architecture at Texas Tech University. In 2016, she retired to become a full time artist.
Pat Johnson’s narrative ceramic sculpture and tile work reference political and social issues. Her influences range from antiquity to popular culture. In these imagined scenarios, she depicts herself as the protagonist or “the artist” taking action against racial injustice, political corruption and corporate greed. A full time artist for more than 40 years, she received a BFA from North Texas State University (now University of North Texas).
Lovie Olivia is a multidisciplinary visual artist who has exhibited nationally. She uses the media of printmaking, painting, and installation to explore themes of gender, sexuality, race, and class. Olivia’s work is included in numerous private and public collections including the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institute.
Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga grew up among the Kikuyu people of Kenya. Gakunga earned a BA in Design from the University of Nairobi and continued graduate work at UCLA. She has exhibited internationally. Her sculptural works are made from sheet metal and steel wire that combine traditional techniques with contemporary processes. This sheet metal – known as mabati – is infused with Gakunga’s childhood memories and Kenya’s history. By replacing their traditional thatched roofs with mabati, this inventive entrepreneurial strategy provided a source for clean drinking water. Instead of going to the river, women collected clean water from their roofs dramatically affecting the quality of their lives. These stories of struggle and triumph have had a large influence on her work.