“’It is impossible for you to do it,’ was the terrible verdict. ‘In the first place you are a woman and would need a protector, and even if it were possible for you to travel alone you would need to carry so much baggage that it would detain you in making rapid changes. Besides you speak nothing but English, so there is no use talking about it; no one but a man can do this.’”
Above, Nellie Bly recounts a pre-journey sentiment liberally strewn with the blatant misogyny and skepticism surrounding her attempt to turn Jules Verne’s Around the World In 80 Days from fiction to fact in 1889.
Well, guess what? Bly did it, did it first, and did it in 72 Days.
Throughout history, how many women have encountered such resistance, such refusal of agency? And of those that forged ahead, explored, adventured, invented, and succeeded– who of them have been historicized, canonized, weaved accurately into the record of our people’s history and celebrated? Arizona artist Jennifer Campbell explores these questions in her January exhibition at Practical Art, “Les Femmes Fierce: An Exploration of Female Trailblazers”.
Journey from 1885 to 1986 as you meet important women in history who, as they explored and discovered the world, redefined gender roles and proved that women could sail, fly, ride, and swim as well as their male contemporaries.
Through Campell’s watercolors and tandem embroidery works, relish in the spirit of adventure, the fortitude of these pioneers. It’s worth noting that Campbell herself, as an artist, would’ve encountered significant gender barriers to this chosen profession well into the 17th century, and here in the 21st, it seems as though they mightn’t all be dissolved. So, let us adventure on with the tenacity, the curiosity, and the ferocity of Nellie Bly, Grace Hay Drummond, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, and the other women across history and across the globe in Campbell’s collection of Les Femmes Fierce.
“Les Femmes Fierce: an exploration of female trailblazers” by Jennifer Campbell
Exhibition: January 2nd-31st, 2015
Reception for the Artist: Friday January 2nd, from 7-9