By Lisa Schumaier
PHOTO COURTESY UA FINE ARTS COMPLEX
"Wake-Up Little Suzie: Pregnancy and Power Before Roe V. Wade" represents the struggle for women's rights as a chess game.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday March 27, 2003
Chess is a game of strategy. But what happens when the pawns are life-size wire sculptures and the winner of the game gets to decide on the legality of abortions? "Wake-Up Little Suzie: Pregnancy and Power Before Roe V. Wade." The art exhibit put together by Kay Obering, Cathleen Meadows and Kathy Hutton is on display at the UA Fine Arts Complex. The chess game converts into an abstract work of art but more importantly, the installation serves as a reminder to women that our reproductive freedom is under attack.
The game pieces depict the "arena of danger in which black and white fertile women lived during the decades before Roe," said author Rickie Solinger of "Wake-Up Little Suzie."Solinger is a leading scholar on reproductive rights in the United States.
Accompanying the exhibit is a series of lectures and gallery talks that discuss the importance of the issue in present time. On Tuesday, Professor of History Karen Anderson will present a lecture, and on April 7 in Aerosplace and Mechanical Engineering building, Room S202, Mexican author and Professor Adriana Ortiz-Ortega will discuss sexual rights in Latin America.
Solinger's lectured earlier this month on the historical studies of our society without reproductive choice.
"The most threatening time for women's rights in now," Solinger said.
She elucidates the goals Bush will address, anticipating the creation of another unjust attack that needs protest as well. Many measures of his pro-life campaign are already well underway. He is working to block access to contraception, promote abstinence only in schools, "declare war" on sex education (that phrase is becoming the "Top of the morning to you" of the U.S government).
Bush also promotes what many physicians are calling "bad science," which consists of inaccurate facts, statistics and information about sex.
"The administration behind this describes abortion as a war between mother and child, where the government should be forced to interfere," Solinger said.
To prepare for this "war," the president is packing the judiciary with anti-abortion judges. He also enforces the notorious gag-rule, making it illegal for doctors to distribute any information on how women can control fertility.
"Revealed in the exhibit are the varieties and complexities (of) a raid against women as they struggle to control their own bodies, the strength of women no matter what the law said, and the roots of the problem that continue to achieve reproductive rights regardless," Solinger said.
This month marked the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It appeared the ideal time to exhibit a historical reminder.
"Wake up" only travels to colleges and universities. It speaks to a new generation of advocates and requests their fervency to uphold what our own mothers grappled to achieve years earlier.
Pawns are festooned with accessories that make the installation interesting and sinister: baby shoes, zippers, clocks, firecrackers, keys, condoms, cigars, mirrors, ties, wedding cake
figurines and a magnifying glass. Wire women and men make the figurines feel anonymous and empty.
Signs in the exhibit describe each statue: The knight is "The Doctor-Lawyer: A two-headed coin. He knew it all and said no to the slut." Another wire doll reads "The Black Abortionist: Poor ol' voodoo midwife down in black town." Other people are also identified with important roles in the matter, including a policeman, a journalist and a judge.
The atmosphere is that of a checkered graveyard, one that stands with adorned headstones as a reminder of an old spirit. Once the administration of gravediggers unearths the dangers of reproductive captivity, a long battle will ensue ¸ with many female casualties.