Thursday, July 01, 2010

Picturing Power and Potential


The San Francisco Arts Commission presents art exhibits throughout the year at its gallery in the Veterans building on Van Ness, a window display on Grove Street, and larger shows in the basement of City Hall.

The exhibits tend to be hit-and-miss, but it's a pleasure to report that the latest show in City Hall's basement, "Picturing Power and Potential," is a winner with about 50 beautiful and fascinating photographs by over a dozen artists of women at work.

The exhibit is co-sponsored by the International Museum of Women and is part of a larger project called "Economica: Women and the Global Economy" (click here for the online exhibit).

Looking at the photo of the Richmond, California policewoman above, it became clear how unusual these photos are.

Most photographic representations of women tend towards either the idealized, movie star alluring or conversely, portraying women as victims of repression in some way.

These photos do neither, and the combination of their formal elegance and their matter-of-fact subject matter is bracing...

...such as the two photos above by Anne Hamersky of women around the world growing their own food.

There are a series of photos by Joanna Lipper of seaweed farmers in Zanzibar that are stunning, topped only by Brenda Paik Sunoo's trio of portraits of "Granny Divers" on Jeju Island off of South Korea.

According to the signage, these women have long dived for seafood in the ocean as deep as 20 meters while simply holding their breath, and they are known to live into their nineties.

If you happen to be in Civic Center on a weekday, it's worth a trip into City Hall's basement to check this show out, which will be on display through August.


AphotoAday said...

There is really a wealth of material on the link you gave. It's going to take me a while to get through it all, but it's really interesting stuff!

And yep, I know about the downstairs exhibit space -- most likely I learned about it from you.

sfmike said...

Dear Donald: I still think you have the best photography site on the web. If you don't believe me, friends, click on the "AphotoADay" link in the comment above.

AphotoAday said...

Hi again Mike,

Thanks for the truly wonderful compliment. Oh, I'm just a compulsive picture-snapper -- take enough photos and eventually a few good ones will pop up... Kind of the same thing as sitting ten thousand chimpanzees down at typewriters -- eventually one of them is going to come up with a good short story...

jolene said...

How funny - my mom just mentioned this to me yesterday, how the "Granny divers" in Jeju Island dive for abalone and other seafood and sell them on the side of the road. My mom said it was the freshest seafood that she ever had. Another interesting fact is that for these women, their husbands stay at home and watch the kids. It's a rare thing to see in such a patriarchal society like Korea.