The female body is ascribed different meanings at different geographies and historical periods. It self-identifies also differently. Immigrant women/women of colour or, in the Netherlands, niet-Westerse allochtone vrouwen, experience their bodies in a range of ways in their travels between their countries of birth or of the country of their (grand) parents and the Netherlands. The very same female body might be perceived (and objectified) as non-Western exotic in the Netherlands and as Western and foreign where one has her cultural heritage. The same woman is perceived and categorized as Black somewhere and as non-Black or white elsewhere.
This mashing of race/ethnicity and gender translates in the way women traverse space, negotiate (national) belonging and assert agency under hospitable and inhospitable conditions. She will refer to an experience of strangeness in one’s female body that becomes familiar to a woman of colour, and however never fully comfortable, turns into her repertoire of being in the world as an embodied female experience.
Immigrant women/women of colour reinvent themselves enduringly: in transit, in misplacement, in cultural strangeness and in an endless struggle to fit and belong. Female immigrant bodies are living cultural and political battlegrounds, social archives, working force and a field for aesthetic (sexual and artistic) fantasies. Therefore, we believe in the relevance to reflect artistically upon this very body in the month when women celebrate the International Women’s Day, reinforcing artistic activism and addressing (cultural) power structures.
By Patricia Schor and Neyde Lantyer
Location: Studio K, Amsterdam
The event is part of the series School of Critics