IN Greek mythology, Paris, a prince, was made to judge who was the most beautiful among three equally beautiful goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.
Faced with the prince’s indecision, the three goddesses offered bribes. Hera, the ownership of Europe and Asia; Athena, the skill and wisdom to master the art of war; and finally, Aphrodite, offering the love of Helen of Sparta, considered the most beautiful woman on Earth.
Paris chose love. He chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess and thus, she rewarded the prince the love of Helen. Aphrodite knew exactly the weakness of men.
Women through the years have been known for their exhibition of beauty, elegance and grace. Most times, they are seen as inspirations for the art of men. Yet it is good to be reminded, in a patriarchal society which can be limiting, that this isn’t the only way that women are involved in the creation of art.
Women have proven themselves in many different fields, even surpassing the standards that men have set for them ever since time immemorial. Women have proven that they are not only about aesthetics; they are not only pieces for inspiration but are also examples for many to follow.
The recent exhibit HER/A, the first of three shows co-curated and organized by Streetkonect and 856 G Gallery, is an exhibit that proves just that. HER/A is a development of “The Little Secrets: Venus,” an all-female pop-up art exhibit presented last 2013.
The exhibit’s title is derived from the Greek goddess Hera. Hera is the goddess of women, marriage and queen of heaven. She is often portrayed as the jealous wife of Zeus and often uses her power to get back at people. She is the portrayal of the characteristic of married women in general in ancient Greek times. However, something not known to many, the worship of Hera started way before the existence of Zeus and somehow it seems as if Zeus was created as the patriarchal symbol to dominate the symbol of Hera. Her name Hera is of Indo-European origin which means a “female hero.”
Hera is the symbol of a female hero who has been repeatedly downgraded as her character that has been raped by Zeus. And to cover the shame, Hera married him which is the reason she became his wife. From then on, she has been playing the character of a jealous wife. But Hera is witty and even though she cannot exceed the physical strength of her husband Zeus, she often outwits him in his plans and even convinces him to do what she wants him to do, which shows just how powerful women truly are.
With 29 female artists from Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, the exhibit encompasses the theme of empowerment among Filipino women contributing to the public presentation and documentation of Filipino women artists. The collection of artworks invites the viewers into a conversation on the role of women in art.
The current roster includes Adriana Cruzat, Aiko Samantha Aravelo, Aj Tabino, Angelyn Khu, Banawe Corvera, Blanche Sypaco, Christine Cueto, Eloise Daniot, Golda King, Greys Lockheart, Hannah Martinez, Jan Sunday, Jhoan “Tioan” Medrano, Joan Florido, Joanna Claire Uy, Jodie Ferrer, Karla Quimsing, Kathryn Layno, Kring Demetrio, Kriztel Camalongay, Martie Dejos, Cmyka, Patricia Zosa, Sam Despi, Shari Llamis, Sharlyn Mae Erandio, Yas Doctor, Yasmin Erika and Lua Mikaeru.