What is Ours? | Juror Statement

What is Ours? | Juror Statement

Early this year, Sandra Davis, the president of the DC chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art reached out to me and asked if I would consider serving as juror for their upcoming exhibition at Sany Spring Museum. I agreed and the exhibition is now open until November 16th. What follows is my juror statement. The opening reception is Sunday, September 25th from 12PM-3PM. RSVP here to attend.

When I was asked to serve as the juror for this exhibition I knew two things: 1) It was something special and 2) I wanted to be part of this very important magic. I smiled inwardly at the title because I knew my answer immediately.  What is Ours? is not only a powerful statement unto itself, the theme begs an important question for all womxn. It asks us all to think about what we claim for ourselves and how in claiming our birthright, we are better able to walk in the world fully formed.
While pondering my response and how I wanted to connect the works to the theme, I went back to the conditioning I received growing up. As the eldest daughter of a Nigerian household, I had a great deal of responsibility. I also always had a lot of questions and discussions about the unfairness that came with being a girl. Often, I was deemed too loud and too much. There were worries that adult life would be difficult.  Those worries shaped me and almost quieted me down, but I am happy to say in the end it did not take and the loudness and being too much has remained. 
It is in this vein, I choose to not only answer the exhibition question for myself but with selections that are rooted in truth and offer no negotiation for their unapologetic stance. What this looks like ranges in expression from expansive joy and murky shadows to flights of whimsy to ancestral reverence and stark realism.
Womxn have always been shifted ever so slightly in a few cases and excessively in others, left of the center. Always in the shadows of ideas, practices, beliefs, and worry. We have been told what we were allowed to have and at the same time not taken too seriously lest society (read men) become upset. In moments where our leadership has existed, it has been treated as more of a rarity than a manner of normalcy. As a result, the world in my humble opinion has suffered greatly from a serious imbalance of power and lack of unifying love.
The beauty of this exhibition is how it brings together varied voices and mediums of artistic expression. The abstract and fully realized sit alongside a kaleidoscope of color while holding space for ritual and magic and the eventual process of aging. There is social and political commentary and a recognizance that we are part of a continuing message of resilience and hope. It is with all of this that I was able to weave a response that not only highlights the importance of identity and legacy but answers this question of What is Ours? in a clear and succinct manner. Simply stated- EVERYTHING.
Risikat “Kat” Okedeyi
Juror, What is Ours?
September 2022

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