Women + Water Exhibit

in progress

Women and Water will be on display from June 12 to October 16, 2023, at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, Wisconsin. More venues will be announced soon.

Water is the source of all life. In many traditional cultures, water is imbued with feminine roles and symbolism. Women are the protectors of water, because women give birth and are seen as the keepers of water. This exhibit celebrates and honors water by portraying women who work with it, protect it and advocate for it. Featured are scientists, water-walkers, teachers, farmers, activists and healers, who all hold deep connections with water. It is our hope that this globally inspired exhibit will help develop and strengthen our own ties with water, and inspire actions to further protect our waters.

Handwoven jacquard portraits form the core of the exhibit. It includes portraits of:

  • Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, Wikwemikong First Nation, Ontario, Canada
  • Autumn Peltier, Wikwemikong First Nation, Ontario, Canada
  • Rachel Carson, United States
  • Carol Warden and Emily Stanley, University of Wisconsin-Trout Lake Limnology Station
  • Aunofo Havea Funaki, sea captain, ocean steward, Kingdom of Tonga
  • Vaida Furanguene, Fatianca Paulino, and Querida Baringuinha of Mozambique
  • Tāwera Tahuri, New Zealand, affiliated with the Ngā Ariki Kaipūtahi, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Uenuku, and Tūwharetoa Māori tribes
  • Sharon Day, Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota, United States
  • Sylvia Earle, United States
  • Ikal Angelei, Kenya
  • Nafisa Barot, Gujarat, India
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Florida, United States
  • Sandra Postel, United States
  • Gretchen Gerrish, University of Wisconsin-Trout Lake Limnology Station, United States
  • Saint Brigid/Goddess Brigid, Ireland
  • Ruth Buendía, Ene Valley, Peru
  • Berta Cáceres (shown with her mother, Austra Berta Flores Lopez), Honduras
  • Monica Lewis-Patrick, Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • Tinker Schuman, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Wisconsin, United States
  • Asha De Vos, Marine Biologist, Oceanswell, Sri Lanka
  • Victoria Buschman, Conservation Biologist, Inuk, Alaska, arctic research
  • Catherine Fridolin, Elizabeth Wanderi, Margret Sindat, African Great Lakes
  • Donnata Alupot, Marie Claire Dusabe, Diane Umutoni, African Great Lakes
  • Grite Nelson Mwaijengo, Gladys Chigamba, Ester Kagoya, African Great Lakes
  • Wilma Mankiller, Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma

The exhibit is at 25 portraits and counting. Also featured are hand-dyed indigo panels, including fresh-leaf home-grown indigo, representing shades of water.

Mary is still seeking to connect with women from around the globe who are working for water. Her hope is that the exhibit will travel nationally and internationally.

This exhibit is sponsored in part by the University of Wisconsin-Trout Lake Limnology Station and the Wisconsin Arts Board.

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