By Donna Bassin
These images are part of work in progress, tentatively entitled, We the People.
I have been inviting people into my studio to engage in a mutual psychodrama creating fictional scenes that tell emotional truths. We witness each other stories. We use art as a problem-solving strategy to mirror, amplify and respond. Partially directed and partially left to the personal/cultural associations of each collaborative partner, these co-constructed tableaus or staged photographs riff off the turbulence, anxieties, and dread of the current Republican government in the sociopolitical environment.
The tradition goes back to staged or posed portraits made by Claude Cahune and Marcel Duchamp in the 20’s and 30’s. The response contains despair as well theatrical resistance.In this sequence, Andrea (lawyer, social worker, and activist) and I used memories of the exploitative TV show, “Queen for a Day,” as the inspiration and cultural reference. In this popular TV show of our childhood, housewives competed in front of an audience as to who had the most heart wrenching personal misfortunes and painful life usually based on economic hardships. The “winner” as determined by the applause of the audience would be crowned with a glittering tiara and given prizes. The underlying conditions remained the same, but for one day, the queen could be distracted.
But perhaps we will not.
And, we will not allow each other to be hung out to dry.
Anyone interested in participating? Please contact me.
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This is brilliant Donna. Brava! I love this very exciting work and can’t wait to see more.
Donna, thank you for this fabulous set of images and evocative metaphor. Your work, art, emblemizes solidarity on many levels. Speaks across generations, across cultures, women to women. So inspiring!