A Tribute to Strong Perseverant Beautiful Black Women Fighting For Inclusion
“April 9th 2015, in an historic move, two African-American ballet dancers performed the lead roles in the Washington ballet’s “swan lake” Thursday evening at the Kennedy center. It’s the first time this has been done in a major ballet company and challenges the idea of what principal roles in classical ballets should look like.” Leon Harris at ABC’s WJLA-TV
Celebrating Strong Women” at the 2019 Venice, Italy Biennale
Enter the elegant dark hued 17th Century Palazzo. Overhead hand hewn wooden beams proudly display the artisan’s initials. Deep shuttered windows open to magnificent views of the canal below. Crowds of visitors enter with wide eyes and gasping smiles. A room full of golden light, golden sculpture and golden framed drawings.
Judith Unger was invited to show nine Sculpture & 5 Drawings at the Prestigious 2019 Venice, Italy Biennale. 6 months, 600,000 worldwide visitors.
In 2018, she was one of thirty sculptors WORLDWIDE invited to exhibit in the Biennale.
The Venice Biennale is the World’s most prestigious Contemporary Art Venue. Established in 1895, it is the oldest contemporary Art Biennale.
In 1948, The Biennale held a major exhibition with the Impressionists, Chagall, Klee, Braque, Delvaux, Ensor, and Magritte, as well as a retrospective of Picasso’s work. Peggy Guggenheim was invited to exhibit her famous New York collection.
Judith Unger’s “BREAKING FREE” EXHIBIT at the 2019 VENICE BIENNALE
This is MYSTORY, HERSTORY, YOURSTORY.
“My sculpture told my story long before I recognized it myself. Years ago, I sculpted a faceless woman, breaking free, defending herself with threatening claws. Then a crouching angel protecting herself under her wings. I no longer need wings to protect me, to soar. This is my journey from Oppression to Shining Strength.
I SHINE. A STRONG WOMAN. MY ART SHINES.
I give this gift to others “to give heart” to EN COURAGE.”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to SHINE. As we let our own light shine, we give others the permission to do the same.” excerpt Marianne Williamson.
“A CHANGING NARRATIVE OF FEMALE EXISTENCE OVER TIME”
Excerpt “Leda and the Swan” W.B. Yeats
“A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.”
My rendering of this myth brings the legend into today’s context. It offers a changing narrative of female existence.
Unlike the story of the ancient Greek Myth of Zeus raping Leda, my Leda defends herself.
Janson’s History of Art”, the Art History Classic since 1962, DID NOT INCLUDE ANY WOMEN ARTISTS UNTIL 1989.
“There is reason to fear that a younger generation of (female) artists lack knowledge of the challenges, the claims for place, and the revolution in attitudes that have actually secured their careers.“ Agnes Gund, Art Collector.
US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said her male colleagues sometimes do not hear a woman’s voice. In a 2009, USA Today interview, she said the other justices who were then all men, sometimes ignored her arguments at their private conferences.
My mother, a painter, encouraged me to draw at a young age. We’d ride the train weekly to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
I memorized whole rooms of paintings! I remember looking up from my small height overwhelmed in a room overflowing with Monet water lilies. A whole new world for a small child.
I fell in love with Sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design. Clay felt so right.
The fluid sensuality in my hands translating into my sculpture and drawings.
Both Venice and Vermont magnify the intensity of my work.
I return to my US studio in an explosion of creativity.
I NEED TO SCULPT AND DRAW
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO MY EXISTENCE
Excerpts from Judith Unger’s Venice, Italy Journals:
“We stood applauding from the ornate golden Royal Box in La Fenice Opera House. A wide private staircase sweeps up to the velvet and golden-mirrored opera box overlooking a central view of the magnificent Jewel Box Theater below. Mario Brunello, cello in hand conducts the symphony with his bow. Exquisite music in an arena of complete silence.
We stand and applaud. I loudly yell “Bravo” I am told his mother sits next to us. She beams at me as I congratulate her son in Italian. Looking at my drawing, she replies, “You draw like Da Vinci”
You can see Judith’s art at his website: https://www.judithunger.com