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Kelani Mariko Snyder
May - 2022

Exhibition Description

Feminus is a deep dive into the nuanced social environment in which American women are born. We enter a world whose rules we do not know in our young girlishness. We discover these rules in unison with discovering ourselves, thus ever informing our identity construction and understanding of the world. We are taught to be ladylike, quiet, perfect, beautiful. The historical restriction of women to the domestic sphere oozes into our modern designation as society’s caretakers and subservients, in which we are expected to offer ourselves up on a platter to be objectified and consumed. These expectations are formed through the nagging words of parents, teachers, and peers – words which become our own inner monologue, chanting, chiding, and criticizing. The cusp between girlhood and womanhood exists in the slow, ever-developing realization that the way you are perceived is dictated by society’s assumed ownership and superiority over you. In every woman, there is the girl who was told to be quiet, to be pretty, and to accept violence as affection.


The feminine textiles utilized in the first installation symbolize the prescribed notions that women are to be delicate, silent, and decorative. Space A has been transformed into both a cage and a womb with the aforementioned fabrics. There is comfort in the constriction of the space through the softness of the materials, yet a sickening distortion and claustrophobia upon closer inspection. Expression morphs into expectation until the two are indifferentiable, speaking to the ways in which our prescribed roles in society greatly influence our perceived individuality. To cope, we decorate our bird cages, embellish our minds with idealizations of the women’s experience, find comfort in their imagined stability, but still we are haunted by the echoes of what women are supposed to be.


Gallery Space B explores the immersive nature of media and advertising in America, especially impactful to young women as one of the largest targeted markets for consumption. The constant presence of advertisements for makeup, beauty products, and clothing sculpt an internal narrative which prioritizes beauty as a means of achieving acceptance, admiration, and love. Through the juxtaposition and repetition, the films seek to expose the duality of beauty culture as both a means of misguided empowerment and a catalyst for internalized objectification. The film does not deny the importance of beauty rituals in feminine expression and community building, but rather embraces it in its complexity.

About the Artist

My work draws inspiration from the existing stories within found media and materials. Though I weave my own personal narrative into each piece, my work intends to give new meaning to objects which, imbued with their own histories, have been discarded by their previous owners. The process is mutually beneficial, I provide these items with new life and they inform my work. Most recently, I have been interested in the plethora of doilies and domestic textiles that make their ways into thrift stores and, eventually, the landfill. Though once created with great care, playing their own part in the making of a home, they are eventually discarded and forgotten. I see beauty in their dejected, stained nature, symbolic of the ways in which needlework and craft have been disregarded as worthwhile art forms and belittled as “women’s work”. Through engaging these methods of craft to create my own work, I hope to assert the importance and validity of woman dominated practices in the art world, while also exploring what these practices mean to me. I experiment with embracing materiality, imperfection, and expressiveness in my textiles – a rejection of the everpresent expectation for women to exist in silent perfection.

Experience the Show Virtually

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