What does the overlap of art and activism look like?

Kelly Martin Broderick with her Self(ie) Portrait

Kelly Martin Broderick with her Self(ie) Portrait

Kelly Martin Broderick, ’14, Gender and Women’s Studies (GWST), is Student Staff at Women’s Center at UMBC and Co-Leader of Women Involved in Learning and Leadership (WILL).

A year ago, I was working at the Howard County Arts Center when Diana Marta, one of the resident artists,  bought an antique dress form.  While looking at the mannequin in her studio,  she “wondered what an ordinary women’s wardrobe would look like through time.”  I remember talking to her after she purchased the form and discussing this topic with her.  Diana decided that she wanted to curate a show exploring the topic of “ordinary women” and the clothing they would wear. Each artist was asked to create a garment that could be worn by the dress form and to also create a self portrait to be displayed along with the dress. It was 2012 when she asked me and 13 other women  to participate in the show and that’s when I started to think about what the phrase “Ordinary Woman” meant to me.

I knew I wanted to do something that challenged our expectations of womanhood and how we’ve constructed being a woman in our society. First, I needed to find a garment.  I don’t sew, so I would have to find a dress.  I wanted something that was the epitome of femininity, to give me a starting point to disrupt that expectation. I found the perfect dress in a thrift shop in Baltimore; it was pink, satin, long, and once upon a time had been a bridesmaids dress.  It said everything I wanted it to say. Continue reading