A new art exhibition at Amelia Douglas Gallery is exploring women’s empowerment.
Canadian artist Suzy Birstein is featured in the exhibition called Ladies-not-waiting: Las Meninas and CenTauress, running Sept. 19 to Oct. 26 in the gallery at Douglas College. The exhibition features a series of sculptures, paintings and mixed media with collages.
“I am examining the role of women: to serve and to be served,” Birstein said in a press release. “Ultimately, my characters have the freedom of choice to give and receive love.”
While travelling through Europe, Birstein saw Picasso’s work inspired by the Diego Velázquez painting Las Meninas (translated as Ladies in Waiting). After seeking out and seek Velázquez’ work in person and pursuing research on the work, Birstein created her own work questioning why the ladies are waiting and what they are waiting for.
“My ladies are gentle women-warriors nurtured by the past, responsive to the present, and driven by a desire to shape fulfilling destinies for themselves and kindred souls,” Birstein said. “The overall tone of my work, although serious and feminist, is also very playful, joyous, colourful and speaks to individuality and universality.”
Birstein’s inspirations come from both ancient and contemporary works, as well as from her own travels and exploration of new cultures. She has a fascination for the magic and wisdom of female figures from mythology, fairy tales and popular culture.
Inspired by shrines of terracotta horses in India and Ancient Greek centaurs, Birstein’s CenTauress focuses on female empowerment, as it mixes human and animal to portray the mythological centaur as female.
“Women don’t need to wait to be served by their knight in shining armour. Instead they can be that powerful knight,” Birstein said.
An artist’s talk will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. and on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Amelia Douglas Gallery is on the fourth floor at Douglas College’s New West campus, 700 Royal Ave. See www.douglascollege.ca/artsevents.