Throughout the centuries, history consistently failed to record the accomplishments of women. Today, women demand to be respected. They speak out despite the violence and oppression intended to silence their voices.
Erasure: The Silencing of Women is a book art project that shines a spotlight on their efforts. Historic figures like Qui Jin, a Chinese revolutionary figure, and Queen Elizabeth I illuminate suppression.
Modern figures like Recy Taylor, Maneka Gandhi, Malala Yousafzai and others highlight today’s struggles. Each entry is headlined with a quote from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This limited edition book project contains fifty copies of a book that touches on dozens of powerful women. Each copy is transformed from a text into an artwork that physically embodies the strength and persistence of women worldwide.
Maneka Gandhi Edition
Dowry deaths occur when women are murdered or forced to commit suicide because their husbands and in-laws have decided that their bride price is insufficient.
Between 2012 and 2014, roughly 25,000 women were pressured so strongly for larger dowry payments that the women either committed suicide or were murdered. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, and India report the highest numbers.
Dowry deaths stand alongside the bridge burning murders and acid mutilations that often go unprosecuted. The event is unrelated to any specific religion. It is pure economics and misogyny. The “gifts” demanded at marriage reflect the unbalanced gender dynamics.
This copy of Erasure is number 2 of 50. The cover, the “facing” portion of the book, has been mutilated with more than forty small cuts. Through each wound, a strip torn from a sari has been threaded.
The orange color of the sari represents the flames of greed and hate. The flowers, printed in gold, represent the strength of women and families who refuse to treat themselves and their daughters as property. $350
History has long recorded the accomplishments of the individuals in power while ignoring—and even deleting—the contributions of the underprivileged.
This copy of Erasure is number 3 of 50. The cover has been left unmolested to create the appearance that the text is complete, much like historical records have been presented as a complete representation of real events.
The interior reflects the truth. From the very first page, redactions have been made in various colors to represent the various forms of censorship applied: exclusion, deletion, and erasure.
The original words can still be read through many of the attempted redactions. This continued visibility represents the strength of women who refuse to be silenced.
Table of Contents or
The Content of Centuries
Black Women Matter : Recy Taylor
Suppression Through Rule of Law : Elizabeth Warren
Dowry Death : Maneka Gandhi
Female Genital Mutilation : Jaha Dukureh
Objectification : Playboy Bunny
#Gamergate : Anita Sarkeesian
Girl’s Education : Malala Yousafzai
The Penitent Females : Magdalene Laundries
Women in Power : Hillary Clinton
Marriage : Queen Elizabeth I
Scapegoat : Mata Hari
Religion : Mary Magdalene
Foot Binding : Qui Jin
Mental Health : Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Science : Marie Curie
Menstruation : Megyn Kelly
Native American Women
Soul Bundle Edition
Upon the death of a loved one, members of the Lakota Sioux tribe cut a lock of hair from the deceased person’s body and wrapped it in buckskin. The bundle, called a soul bundle, was kept for a period of one year.
The individual who maintained the bundle was called the Keeper of the Soul. The bundle was often treated as if it was a living person. It was offered food and drink, and family members spoke to it as if the person was still alive.
After a year, the soul was released in a special ceremony. In living a harmonious life during that time, the individual who kept the bundle honored the life that had ended.
This copy of Erasure is number 1 of 50. The book is wrapped in an inner wrap of red buckskin to represent the sacredness of the ritual. The outer wrap of white elk hide represents purity. Beads of buffalo horn and animal bone decorate the interior and exterior wraps.
The outer bundle is held fast with a Sioux style medicine wheel made of rawhide and threads in the color of the four directions. The carved bone sliver is a hair pin. This bundle honors the memory of the many Native American women who have fought to preserve their tribal traditions and achieve full rights for their people.