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Gender and the Environment Library Display

Canvas Painting that highlights intersectionality and women in the environmental movement.  See the heading Description for a full description.


Samantha Lopez


Canvas Painting that highlights intersectionality and women in the environmental movement.


My art assesses Eco Feminism; the domination of women and the degradation of the environment are consequences of patriarchy and capitalism. For this course, our final project was to produce an art piece to reflect our learned knowledge. I would not consider myself the best artist but the meaning behind my artwork is the message I wish to spread to my community. I have based my art off of the Feminist Political Ecology theory. The theory assesses and advocates for a global society in which humans can live in relation to nature while simultaneously deconstructing the framework of colonization. It is a movement that advocates for gendered knowledge, rights, and politics and includes many cultures, not exclusively western knowledge. Looking deeper, the information revealed how intersectionality can take a leading role in how institutions disproportionately affect certain demographics. The feminist political ecology approach expands the borders of feminism and gives women spaces of power. Feminist political ecology emphasizes the idea of having multiple identities, therefore leading to the notion that in certain spaces, individuals are not always marginalized. This provides spaces for power and representation. I wanted my artwork to expand beyond western knowledge to include multi-cultural significance. The meanings of my illustrations are below:

  • The fist up to the sky is commonly seen in social rights movements as a symbol of solidarity.
  • The butterflies were inspired by the poem “The Things I Carry With Me” by Susana Cabrales and Las Malcriadas, from the book “Mujeres Magicas Domestic Workers Right To Write”. The poem compares the border crossing of the monarch butterflies to the border crossing of humans at the Mexico-United States border. The writers speak about being called a “Malcriada” or the Spanish term for spoiled and misbehaved. These women were labeled as deviant simply because they behaved as men typically do. The women recoined the once negative term to transform it into an empowering identity.
  • The lunar moon phase cycle is sacred in indigenous cultures. At the beginning of March, I had the opportunity to witness and be apart of an indigenous ritual. On the new moon, the tribe had held a prayer ceremony using water. Many people had collected water from significant spaces or times in their lives, for example, one woman collected rainwater during the amazon fires to pray for their indigenous sisters across the globe. After the prayer, they released the water back into the bay in hopes the water would reach the people who needed it through the water cycle. They prayed it would reach their indigenous brothers and sisters, policymakers, women giving birth, and activists around the world. It was an inspiring and empowering experience that I will never forget.
  • The red handprint upon the indigenous woman’s face is meant to spread awareness of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. An epidemic that is currently affecting indigenous people in the United States and Canada. Over 5,700 women are missing or murdered and this is considered a modern-day genocide.
  • The diversity of the people at the top of the painting is important to recognize that activism has no face. You have the power to advocate for your rights and the rights of others and the rights of the environment, without being a certain identity. It is not the duty of women to save the planet from climate change, it is the duty of all humans to reconstruct a society that is capable of living a mutualistic relationship between humans and nature.
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