Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse was a collaboration with The Contemporary Art Modern Project (The CAMP Gallery) and the Fiber Artists Miami Association (FAMA). The exhibition explored how female artists, utilizing textiles as their medium, subvert the social expectation of crafting by lambasting this soft medium with political and social awareness.

Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse was on view at MoCA Westport from June 30 – October 2, 2022. 

The exhibition was curated by Melanie Prapopoulos, Maria Gabriela Di Giammarco, and Mario Andres Rodriguez of The CAMP Gallery, with locations in both Miami, Florida and Westport, Connecticut.

Portions of this exhibition were originally shown at The CAMP Gallery Miami in partnership with Fiber Artists Miami Association (FAMA) in 2020. This inaugural collaboration featured predominantly female artists exploring their relationship with themselves and their communities at the intersections of femininity, race, history, and feminist sociopolitics. The 2020 exhibition coincided with the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women in the United States the right to vote, the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and a Presidential election year.

The original exhibition has now expanded to include fiber works from artists in the Northeastern United States in an effort to reflect on action in the context of time, while exploring the feminine experience and identity across space.

Textile work, historically, is inextricable from the lived experience of women transnationally, and is continually relegated to the realm of the “feminine.” Considering the sameness of voices given importance in society, and how this homogeneity has been supported by centuries of long-held social norms, it is all the more necessary to turn to the feminine experience; including these voices, historically made to become silent observers, allows for an authentic shift in perspective, one that enriches, rather than destroys, our collective reality.

This version of the exhibition focuses on flags; the flag banner is used as a metaphor or symbol of solidarity for the women of the suffrage movement and as an emblem of protest. The flags in Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse were assembled using mixed media and the fiber arts to ignite positive social change. Within the exhibition, the visitor will experience flags composed completely of a range of fiber, from organza, velvet, linen, and silk, to repurposed clothes and plastics, jute, yarn, and canvas.

To bolster this exploration of the history of textile work within the scope of the feminine experience, Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse is being shown alongside works by sculptor Shelly McCoy and artist Aurora Molina, and an interactive fiber installation.

McCoy’s debut exhibition with The CAMP Gallery, March on Society, is reimagined for MoCA Westport’s space, a survey of the artist’s straightforward artistic voice. Her reinterpretation of the American flag made of crayons spelling out “democracy,” latex condoms for In Latex We Trust, and the interactive We the People, is an extension of her practice and politics, marrying her use of functional items and textiles with complex social commentary on gender, collective action, and hope.

Molina’s Woven Destinies series, made from repurposed t-shirt yarn, presents faceless images of everyday citizens demonstrating in the public sphere. With source material traversing recorded protests both past and present, Molina’s protesters are intended to be vessels for reflection as well as kinship; her weaving process is based upon that of Indigenous traditions throughout the Americas.

Punctuating Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse was an interactive loom experience, an initiative beginning with weaving from the FAMA founders and ending along the exhibition. This collaborative fiber art installation aimed to weave in the audience in the same manner each fiber present in the exhibition sees history, experience, and value embodied.

Exhibition curator Melanie Prapopoulos stated, “At the time of the first edition of the exhibition’s opening in September 2020, we mourned the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Today, in 2022, we worry about the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

“The exhibition and its message – the right to vote, and the action and responsibility of everyone voting – is just as important now as in the past. The artists are the present-day warriors still carrying the torch first lit over one hundred years ago,” Prapopoulos added.

For more information on the exhibition, contact Liz Leggett, Director of Exhibitions for MoCA Westport at liz@mocawestport.org or 203/222-7070.

Artists Included In the Exhibition

Laetitia Adam-Rabel, Alissa Alfonso, Carlos Bautista Biernnay, Nancy Billings, Liene Bosquê, Pip Brant, Carola Bravo, Mabelin Castellanos, Melissa Dadourian, Camille Eskell, Susan Feliciano,  Molly Gambardella, Amy Gelb, Joseph Ginsberg, Jac Lahav, Maria Lino, Laura Marsh, Sooo-z Mastropietro, Caitlin McCormack, Shelly McCoy, Jeanne Jaffe & Molly McGreevy, Norma Minkowitz, Aurora Molina, Valeria Montag, Chiara No, Evelyn Politzer, Rosana Machado Rodriguez, Alina Rodriguez Rojo, Damian Rojo, Margaret Roleke, Debora Rosental, Rosario Salazar, Yolanda Sanchez, Natalia Schonowski, Leslie Sheryll, Silvana Soriano, Maru Ulivi, Rita Valley, Lisu Vega, Laura Villareal, Joan Wheeler, Silvia Yapur, and Wendy Wahl.

Supporting Programming

MoCA Westport’s Cocktails & Conversation series features an exciting line-up of free speakers relevant to the exhibition on select Thursday evenings. Speakers begin at 6 PM sharp, so please arrive early to purchase a custom cocktail and to experience the exhibition. Learn more about the events here.

Admission to MoCA Westport is currently complimentary for all visitors made possible through the generous gift of an anonymous donor.

MoCA Westport is also proud to participate in the CT Summer at the Museum program. The program invites Connecticut children ages 18 and under plus one accompanying Connecticut resident adult to visit participating museums free of charge from July 1 through September 5, 2022. Learn more.

Image Credits

Alina Rodriguez Rojo & Damian Rojo. Justice Bell III, 2020. Silkscreen on textile, hoop skirt frame, LED. 40 x 60 x 60 in.

Alissa Alfonso. Earth Can’t Vote, 2020. Fused plastics and thread, 60 x 40 in.

Laetitia Adam-Rabel. Red, White, and Pink: The Colors of Politics. 2020. Thread, yarn, ink, acrylic on canvas. 40 x 60 in.

Silvana Soriano. We (Are) the People, 2020. Mixed media on canvas; alpaca wool, acrylic paint. 40 x 60 in.

Aurora Molina. I Go to Prepare a Place For You, 2020. Cotton thread on raw canvas, velvet and beeswax. 40 x 60 in.

Laura Villareal. Breaking Borders: Mapping of a Suffragette, 2020. Naturally dyed fabric, textiles, yarn, and image transfer on cotton. 40 x 60 in.

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