MFA students, Janina Anderson and Rebbecca Munce sew their way to revolution
All over the FOFA Gallery’s window-display are newspapers, however their headlines and photos are blocked off. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the headlines are interrupted by sewing thread, leaving the images only partially concealed. The newspapers each feature articles about the 2016 United States presidential inauguration, and the imagery features none other than Donald Trump.
Displayed in the Ste-Catherine St. vitrine, Objects of Resistance showcases the work of Janina Anderson and Rebecca Munce. “This work was executed the day of the Women’s March in 2017,” said Anderson, a Concordia MFA student in fibres and material practices. “The idea came to me really fast. I don’t even remember how, it just came to me the day before the march.”
Anderson chose to use newspapers, of all material options, to make her statement. She stitched the newspapers in a public space, as a collective event to encourage people to participate on this revolutionary day.
“Newspapers have always been kind of interesting to me because they’re tangible objects you can hold in your hands, and it’s basically history,” she said. Rather than work on these art pieces alone, Anderson sought help from Munce, a close friend and classmate, because of their shared opinions concerning feminist and political ideals.
“Rebecca’s medium is drawing,” Anderson explained. “She has a sophisticated knowledge of line work, and she’s really talented in that area. And I always thought of the sewing machine as a way to draw.”Traditionally deemed a delicate feminine craft, sewing is seldom associated with revolution.
“When you have the sewing machine, and you really put the pedal all the way to the ground, it shakes,” Anderson said. “It sounds like a rifle. It was nice to use something the day of the Women’s March that’s considered soft and feminine for something so aggressive.”
Anderson made sure the headlines and Trump weren’t completely covered. Wanting it to be fairly obvious who the subject of her protest was, her intention was to have the viewer face the unpleasant reality: Trump isn’t going anywhere, at least, not yet.
Despite being crafted a year prior to the exhibition, Anderson said the piece has been dubbed “still relevant” on many occasions. The artist has already been approached by people saying her work has encouraged and inspired them to join her call to arms.
“Protest art changed the way I think about my audience,” Anderson said. “It sort of renewed my belief in art and its powers to change the way a person feels. Some of the best works I have seen fill my heart and make me clench my fist at the same time.”
Objects of Resistance will be on view in the Ste-Catherine St. vitrine of the FOFA Gallery until Dec. 14.