Grace Bromage ‘23
Chief Features Editor
Although 2021’s Women’s History Month is over, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery has not forgotten to honor the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage through their current display of 10×10: Ten Women, Ten Prints. As the title indicates, this collection is composed of prints created by ten women artists of varying ages, ethnicities, and struggles. The prints were originally published by the Berkeley Art Center in 1995 for International Women’s Day and are now a part of the Cantor Art Gallery’s permanent collection. The uniting factor amongst these pieces is the strength and creativity of the women artists who created them.
I had a chance to speak with Alyssa Stone ‘22, the student research assistant for this collection. Under normal circumstances, Stone is a gallery assistant at the Cantor Art Gallery. Stone is passionate about many social justice issues and said that “towards the end of the spring 2020 semester, [Assistant Director Paula Rosenblum] and [Dr. Meredith Fluke] had reached out and asked if I wanted to take part in this opportunity, as they thought my passions and interests would appropriately lend themselves to this project.”
When asked about her responsibilities, Stone said that, “I was tasked with doing research on the backgrounds of the ten artists. To get a better sense of their style and inspiration, I watched videos, looked at their other pieces, and read any interviews. I really wanted to understand the makers in order to fully process their prints in the 10 by 10 exhibit and see how their pieces not only contributed to the theme of empowerment throughout the exhibit, but also how these specific prints fit into the artists’ individual portfolios as well. Once I had done this research, I began writing the introduction text for the exhibit, and the labels for each print. Rosenblum and Fluke are both well versed in this style of writing and deciding which information needed to be included, so they had provided me with examples and helped edit the drafts of the text I had written.”
One difficulty that Stone commented on was that “when researching the artists, there was a large disparity in the information available about some of them. It made it more difficult to learn more about the contexts of some of the pieces and the artists themselves. I eventually found all the information I needed, but it was still challenging at times.” However, Stone did enjoy her work and claimed that one of her favorite parts was “just observing and absorbing the works. I am an artist myself, so examining the techniques and emotions that each print encompasses was very inspiring. Each print has a different connection to womanhood and the various communities that fit within identifying as a woman, so it was beautiful to see which pieces I related to myself, and also sit with the feelings and emotions of the pieces that I connected with even if I did not necessarily relate to its meaning.”
Stone’s favorite print in the collection is Homenaje a Dolores Huerta from Women’s Work Is Never Done by Yolanda M. López. Stone commented, “the image itself is beautiful, but I actually have a special connection with it from when I first saw it. Last spring, on the Friday as everyone was packing up and heading home due to the COVID pandemic, I was covering a shift in the art gallery so some other students could focus on packing, and it was during this last shift that I noticed López’s print hanging on the wall between the gallery and the Bursar’s office. I took a picture of it with my phone, and actually posted it to my Instagram story because something about the piece resonated with me. I am not a Latina woman, or an immigrant agricultural worker like the powerful women depicted in the photo, but I related to the feeling of ‘a woman’s work is never done.’ This print, for me personally, helped me articulate the importance of this entire collection because even though I can only try to understand and empathize the struggles that other women go through, the power that women have is something that connects us. It was also a reinforcement of concepts that I already knew. As a woman, they are universal struggles, but I recognize the privilege I have as a cis white woman and how it is important to use these privileges to try to help all women, regardless of but accounting for the intersections of their identity and struggles they face because of them.”
10 x 10: Ten Women, Ten Prints will be available to view at the Cantor Resource Gallery through May for all those who are interested. The Cantor Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.