Fish Needs a Bicycle is UMOCA’s fall/winter programming series which expanded on the museum’s exhibition goals of promoting the work of women artists and highlighting gender inequality in a variety of ways. Via film, storytelling, panel talks and lectures, Fish Needs a Bicycle explored nuanced corners of equality and feminism and celebrated uplifting examples of women who have succeeded despite dominant cultural pressures.
“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” – Irina Dunn
Beneath the Surface: Complicating Progressive Narratives of Womanhood
Inspired by the ideas and concepts driving UMOCA’s recent exhibit, Work In Progress, four panelists came together to present “Beneath the Surface: Complicating Progressive Narratives of Womanhood.” This panel dug beneath the surface of the mainstream feminist narrative and explored what equality means for those who are less visible and valued as members of a gender liberation movement. Panelists challenged simplified ideas of progress and revealed intricacies of their lived experiences. Panelists included Kathy Zhou, Gabriella Blanchard, Gabbriella Huggins, and Yasin Fairley (Ya-Ya).
Proto-Feminism, Post-Modernism, and other Fashionable Nonsense
This panel discussed and questioned historic art clichés such as Proto-Feminism, Post-Modernism, and other overused tropes of art criticism to make obvious those who were left behind in the light of where we stand socially today. Progressive movements have long worked against themselves, and given the current social climate, these difficult questions have never been more important to have and cast a more urgent light on the intention of the museum’s recent exhibition, “Work in Progress,” a women’s history mural. Panelists included Jennifer Jordon, Jennifer Napier Pearce, Shanna Futral, and Fran Pruyn.
Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin: Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin, a 29-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, was Ambassador to Pakistan from 2001 to 2002, when she played a key role in securing Pakistan’s cooperation in the U.S.-led campaign against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the wake of the terrorist attacks against the U.S. on September 11. It was Ambassador Chamberlin that had to negotiate on the United States’ behalf with President Musharraf in the days immediately following 9/11, and she has lent her expertise and leadership to the country as the Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees and spearheaded counter-narcotics efforts. Following her time in the Foreign Service, she has been President of the Middle East Institute since 2007.
Her talk at UMOCA spoke about her career trajectory, including her time in the Foreign Service, and rising through the ranks to the top of an agency in which it has been notoriously difficult for women to advance.