What a powerful place Womxnhouse Detroit is! The house at 15354 St. Marys Street in Detroit has been transformed into an exhibition space for the work of 14 female artists. From the bedrooms to the bathroom, the back porch to the front closet, the house bursts with thought-provoking, visually dazzling displays.
Womxnhouse Detroit was inspired by Womanhouse, the groundbreaking 1972 installation of feminist art by female artists curated by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, founders of CalArts’ Feminist Art Program.
The Womxnhouse Detroit exhibit was curated by local artists Asia Hamilton (who owns the Norwest Gallery of Art) and Laura Earle. I was fortunate to visit when both of them were there and to receive a tour of the exhibition from Laura. She walked me and the other women visiting at the time through each piece, explaining the inspiration for and symbolism of each. I’m grateful to Laura for taking the time to do this; it made the art that much more impactful, to have intimate knowledge of what went into creating it!
Womxnhouse Detroit launched in mid-September 2021. This weekend (October 30-31, 2021) is the last one to see the exhibit. Future plans for the house include an artist-in-residence program.
The photos above give a sneak-peek of the exhibit. The picture of the house’s front porch showcases a piece by Asia Hamilton called Fall in Love. It represents the fairy-tale version of love so pervasive in our society, especially in messaging intended for women and girls. THE AWAKENING (also by Hamilton), is a response to that piece. It resides on the back porch and is a portrayal of marriage many viewers will find to be a much more realistic one.
The second photo shown above, of the kitchen, is of a piece called Antepasados by Rosa María Zamarrón. It’s a beautifully immersive experience that showcases the kitchen as a sacred space, one where Rosa’s mother imparted family recipes – and thusly, elements of their Latin heritage. I was moved by this exhibit: by the vibrant warmth and intimacy of the details that make this kitchen a home – from the crimson and gold papers flowers festooning the ceiling to the sounds of Zamarrón’s mother talking and cooking (yes, there is an audio component!). It reminds me of times I practiced elements of my family’s culture with my beloved grandmother, when we made Italian cookies in her kitchen.
I could recount more of the art I experienced at Womxnhouse Detroit – art showcasing themes of grief and healing and abortion rights and the gender pay gap and forgotten women . . . and so much more. But my words would pale in comparison to the experience of witnessing it firsthand; the exhibit begs to be experienced. If you’re in the Detroit area this weekend and into art that’s both culturally significant and visually stunning, do yourself a favor and visit Womxnhouse Detroit! Admission to the exhibit is technically free, though donations are encouraged if you’re able to give. Proceeds from the exhibit will fund the artist’s residency.
I’m excited to see what art this incubator of creativity serves up next. Thank you, Womxnhouse Detroit, for being the facilitator of such magical experiences!
15354 St. Marys St.
Detroit, MI 48227