MAEKAN Sessions are thematic online panel discussions hosted by MAEKAN featuring guests in various creative fields. Sessions allow us to have longer, in-depth conversations on single topics with interesting people around the globe in a format that is open for others to listen in and ask questions.
In this MAEKAN Session we spoke with Sarah Kim and Arielle M. Myers, two of the three curators of FEMININE PRODUCT, an art exhibition centered around the discussion of women and equality held in Los Angeles in March 2017. Sarah Kim, founder of By Way Of, has been featured in a previous MAEKAN story, “Figuring Out Female Equality Together.” Arielle M. Myers is a curator previously at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and is now an independent curator located in Denver. We also invited two women whose work was included in the exhibition to speak with us: Carmen Chan, a professional commercial and editorial photographer, and Vanessa Yuri Chung, a visual artist and practicing arts educator.
We discussed the continued necessity of all-women art shows and creative initiatives in response to a gender ratio imbalance in the arts world and a still changing societal attitude towards females. Another theme that came up was how feminism is defined differently by not only exhibition attendees but the artists who were invited to exhibit, and ultimately each one of the panelists as well. Arielle M. Myers brought up the importance of companies being mindful of committing to put money into their values and investing in diversity. Carmen Chan highlighted other women specific initiatives and her experience with how some clients thoughtfully consider whether the subject at hand would be better suited to be portrayed through a female gaze.
We ended the Session by talking about practical ways to nurture young creatives and encourage the community at large. Sarah Kim emphasized that there’s enough room for everyone, female and male, and that bringing up new talent doesn’t mean putting yourself in the shadows.
Short poems by the poet Jasmine Mans were applied to the floor of the gallery with vinyl letters.
“I see a lot of progress on a local level but we still haven’t caught up institutionally when we’re talking about blue chip galleries or museums or solo shows for women. 1985, the number of women shows was one and there were four in 2015. Between 1985 and 2015 we only added three shows for women. Things like that are really discouraging but I see so much progress on the local level and in the younger generation.”
— Arielle M. Myers
Displayed on one wall were framed photographs taken backstage during New York Fashion Week by Carmen Chan.
“We shouldn’t have to worry about being too aggressive or too mild, it should just be taken as what it is.”
— Vanessa Yuri Chung