Artist waves women’s flag in Okanagan

SheShe declares femininity with all-encompassing exhibit

Julie Oakes is ready, once again, to reclaim her femininity.

The Vernon artist and owner of Headbones Gallery is opening her exhibit, SheShe, Stylistic Empathy, at the Penticton Art Gallery. An opening reception takes place Thursday, Nov. 21 from 7-9 p.m.

“This show is the culmination of four years work, all centered round feminine principles,” said Oakes.

“I have long been working towards gender equality and this body of work has been created with the idea of bringing into a rather confusing political climate, the positive attributes of the feminine – goodness, co-operation and nurturing.”

The creative and colourful exhibit takes over the Marina Way gallery walls and even floor, plus chairs, table, tapestries, masks, a mascot and more. SheShe is on display until Jan. 12, 2020.

Oakes was married for 20 years, most of which was spent on 400 acres in B.C. with a one lane, three mile access road in and out, off the grid and at the time she loved it.

An hour from the closest town, Oakes had her own studio space in a separate house. She also raised two children and once a week went to town to buy all the household supplies and do laundry.

“I once overheard a phrase that rankled me then and still does,” said Oakes: “She never really worked. She just did laundry, cooked, cleaned and painted.”

Oakes concludes: “Increasingly aware of a biased slant that suppresses the intellectual strengths of women, work that refers to child bearing, domesticity, elder care and hospitality appears to fall to the background in favor of ‘more important’ causes. I am ready now – once again – to declare my femininity – not feminism, but an inclusive femininity.”

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