Art & Oppression: Artist's Statement

The Furies: Patti Levey, Lauren Ayer, Kristin Barendsen


On Election Night 2016, friends gathered to watch the returns and beat our Trump piñata in victory. Instead, we ended up smashing it in bewilderment and rage. Seeing its remains, we felt we were looking at the future of women’s bodies, brown bodies, and queer bodies—as well as the body of Mother Earth—under the Trump administration.

As women, our bodies have been a battleground for sexual assault and self-hate. Two of us are queer; one is Jewish. All three of us feel more vulnerable under this aggressive and violent administration, and we feel a strong imperative to fight back and use the power of our voices. Our collective was galvanized. We became The Furies.

We made a series of raw, unaltered images that evoke a crime scene, a lynching, a beauty pageant, a rape. We photographed each of us in re-enactments of the piñata smashing, in scenes representing Election Night and the aftermath. Together we are fighting, resisting, not yet winning. Infuriated is the body of work that sprang from this spontaneous, organic process.

Women’s bodies have been—and will be now more than ever—an arena where white male politicians play out their power games. Our pussy-grabbing president is proud to objectify women. By photographing ourselves nude, we take control of that objectification and regain agency over our bodies. We see our work as a kind of self-portrait of the way many women feel at this historic moment: threatened, furious, and rising.