On January 21st, 2017 my nine-year-old daughter and I were 2 of the 20,000 individuals who chose to march in the Charlotte, North Carolina Women's March. We were 2 of the 5,000,000 who chose to march worldwide--a march that was the largest single-day protest in history and spanned 7 continents. We all chose to march that day because we believe in equality.
The gravity of this experience woke me up. This one, huge lived experience inspired me to want to create artwork that represented the strength, unity, and resistance that I felt that day. It also ignited a passion and the courage in me to amplify women’s voices through the development of an ongoing, participatory art project focused on social justice and human rights.
We all have a story to tell. Like so many women, my story began before my ability to tell it.
As women*, we are told that our stories don’t matter and aren’t valued. We are silenced.
Airing Out the “Dirty” Laundry creates opportunities and spaces for us to share and reveal our stories of strength, unity, and resistance of oppression, injustice, and exclusion through visual storytelling. When we reveal our stories, we create the possibility of shifting the narrative. Airing Out the “Dirty” Laundry is a catalyst for women’s voices, a call to gather together, opportunity to listen and to be heard, and to foster the love and understanding that resists hate and injustice.
[*cis women, trans women, trans-femme, and non-binary folx]
"If not us, then who? If not now, then when?" - John Lewis, Freedom Rider
To illustrate, reveal, share, discover, and value the stories and experiences that connect us and reflect the diversity among us and join them together on a clothesline.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." - Maya Angelou
To invite curiosity and encourage conversations and dialogue about equality, social justice, and human rights.
"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences." - Audre Lorde
Airing Out the "Dirty" Laundry is an ongoing, participatory, traveling and nationally reaching art installation created by individuals who believe in equality and our shared responsibility to create a more just world.
This ongoing collection of individual stories is about strength, unity, resistance of oppression, injustice, and exclusion. All cis women, trans women, trans-femme and non-binary folx that believe in this purpose are invited to participate by creating a piece of "dirty" laundry.
Andrea Downs is an artist who has taught art for 15 years. She creates work that is designed to foster collaboration, connections, and deeper dialogue across different segments of the diverse communities within which she lives and works. Relationships, connections, identity, and an openness to engage with one another are at the center of Andrea's work. She creates opportunities and shared experiences in order to foster the kinds of connections that build strong communities. Her most important work, in partnership with her husband, is raising her two children to believe in equality. Andrea lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina.