Abby Fay Smith

I was raised in a house with two older sisters and parents who encouraged us to believe that there were no limits to what we could achieve. The idea of a gender gap was foreign until my early twenties when I realized that women were not always as valued as they were at 8 Fern Drive. I believe that my small-town, white, middle-class upbringing certainly aided in shielding me from the many inequities of the world.

Upon being asked to create a series to commemorate the centennial of the Suffragette movement, I thought I would talk about the biases towards women that we are still up against. This is especially prevalent in the male-dominated world of art.

In one piece, I’m even throwing my hands up in surrender, as if to say, “You win. You always have.”

However, as that piece came to a close, I began adding more raised hands. Instead of hands of surrender, they became hands of courage. Hands of women who decided to use their very powerful, intelligent and influential voices to make real change.

This prompted a shift in the series. As the series progressed, I wanted to depict women as larger-than-life deities worthy of worship, admiration and prestige. They are standing strong and steadfast, often addressing the viewer head on. We still have a long road ahead of us, but damn, are we marching on.

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