Riot girl summer is just kicking off, and Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is on board with the movement. A new exhibition, “Hella Feminist” will feature newly commissioned artwork, interactive elements, and never-before-exhibited historical objects and artifacts from the museum’s collection. The exhibit will open on July 29 and explore the lesser known stories of feminism in the Bay Area and beyond.
Designed as a response to the current moment, Hella Feminist is rooted in the idea that discrimination against all elements of identity (gender, class, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, education, age, etc.) is interlinked and that no element can be addressed alone.
Posters, pins, photographs and more illustrating the feminist movement’s rise and shifts will be on display. The exhibition will highlight the spectrum of feminist actions, from the political movements shifting national policy, to the everyday practices shaping our local communities.
“Now more than ever, we must expand our understanding of feminism and learn from the communities that have been doing this work for decades in the Bay Area and beyond,” says Carin Adams, exhibition co-curator and Curator of Art at OMCA. “In the aftermath of the Roe v. Wade decision, we hope ‘Hella Feminist’ provides a space to both grieve the current moment, and inspire hope and action for our collective future.”
Visitors can expect to view new accessions to OMCA’s collection such as artwork by Jane Norling and a new work created especially for “Hella Feminist” by Sadie Barnette. Angela Hennessy’s sculpture, Mourning Wreath, made from synthetic and human hair, found hair, artist’s hair, enamel paint and other materials, reflects on cultural rituals of grief and respect. Visitors are invited to sit and meditate alongside the piece. Additional work includes a textile installation by Tanya Aguiñiga, in collaboration with 30 different contributors and a curated section on the feminist youth voice, highlighting the Radical Monarchs, a contemporary Oakland organization, through ephemera, photography and video.
An expanded section on the leadership of Indigenous women in the Land Reclamation movement highlights the Alcatraz occupation and contemporary Sogorea Te’ Land Trust will also be part of the exhibit. Visitors can also peruse a new zine, Backbone, that celebrates the stories of Asian American daughters and their mothers.
An interactive installation will allow visitors can share their stories on body autonomy and words of encouragement via a special phone hotline, which will then be played in the exhibition.