The feminist year starts on March 8th, right? Every year, Mama Cash celebrates International Women’s Day by highlighting and celebrating the artistic and creative contributions women make to our societies. We invite you to join us at the Mama Cash Feminist Festival in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and the Hague.
But wait a minute: isn’t art, abstract and immaterial, the opposite of real political change? Isn’t art the realm of the elite? How exactly does a focus on art go with Mama Cash’s mission to support women, girls, trans people and intersex people who are fighting for their rights?
The activists we support have shown us that there’s a different side to art than the glamorous, elitist world that may first come to mind. They organise screenings of movies that change gender roles. They use art therapy as a way of building community and healing from violence. They turn real-life experiences into story-telling performances that spark necessary dialogues in their communities.
Art isn’t always just for art’s sake: it can be a means of bringing people together and breaking down boundaries, of challenging dominant norms and stereotypes, of creating a culture of change that can facilitate other forms of change (like in policies or laws). Music, theatre, spoken word, photography, film, literature, dance, and art in all its many forms have the ability to speak to us and move us in ways that a news report or online petition can’t.
Determination, resilience and creativity: these are the qualities of artists, activists and feminists alike.
With the Mama Cash Feminist Festival, we celebrate not only this political potential of art, but also the often-overlooked contributions women have made to this field. Like most other industries, the art world is male-dominated. Women who are artists often don’t get the same chances as their male peers, experience sexual harassment, and have their work judged through limiting stereotypes of femininity. So if we can more easily think of famous male artists throughout history, it’s not because women have lacked talent, passion or ambition, but because they were not invited or allowed into the boy’s club. Despite this, women have found ways to express themselves. Because that’s what artists do.
Determination, resilience and creativity: these are the qualities of artists, activists and feminists alike. We can’t wait to engage with you all on these themes with diverse programs in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and the Hague. Join us at the Mama Cash Feminist Festival, and let’s celebrate International Women’s Day together.
All photos (c) Claire Bontje
The image for the Mama Cash Feminist Festival 2018 has been designed by Marilyn Sonneveld.