Remember the Feeling / by Joan Chamberlain

My mixed-media piece commemorating the event.

Like hundreds of thousands of women and men around the world, I participated in the Women's March on January 21, 2017. I live in Dallas and didn't see much hype or promotion in the days preceding the march. So, I was surprised to see the (estimated) 7000 people who took part in the two-mile march on a cloudy day in Dallas, TX.

It was a happy event, full of empowering messages as well as the comical, irreverent, and lewd messages that made me appreciate just how creative people can be. I came away feeling energized and encouraged. I awoke the next morning with an overwhelming desire to create a piece of art to remind me of that feeling.

The first requirement I had for this piece was the color pink. Various hues of pink were immediately apparent at the march I took part in, as well as in the aerial shots of other marches around the globe - this sea of denim blue, dotted with pops of pink - like whitecaps on the ocean - moving along hypnotically. I thought of how often I see pink in nature - a sunset, canyon walls, and an endless supply of pink flowers.

I chose a dogwood branch because of its color and symbolic meaning - endurance. The struggle for equality has been one of endurance, no question.

Another important element I wanted to capture was the presence of placards, handwritten and irregular, but conveying important messages - of strength, solidarity, defiance. I chose to include positive messages of strength and inclusion that I strive to embrace. The phrases written on the palm are both personal and general, basic values and ideas I heard echoed throughout the day.

This artwork is composed of layers of hand-drawn and digitally generated images. The hand, dogwood branches, and most of the lettering are drawn and shaded by hand. It was then composed in layers in Photoshop so that I could move elements around and manipulate the size for printing.

Palm hatchwork.jpg

The final piece speaks to a happy day full of empowerment, inclusion, and energy. Those of us who feel lucky enough to be able to march were happy to represent those who couldn't.