The art world is often criticized for its lack of representation and inclusivity of marginalized artists. Local art collectives, however, such as (F)empower in Miami, are trying to change the narrative and are determined to not just showcase marginalized female artists, but to celebrate them.
(F)empower creator Helen Peña started the collective just six months ago and already it has garnered thousands of female Instagram followers — most ages 17 to 27.
The idea behind the collective came when Peña realized that all the creative projects she had taken part in were male dominated.
Peña, 24, wanted to be surrounded by artists and photographers who had the same vision as she: a different narrative that explored the vast perspectives of artists who also seek equality for women.
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“I started thinking, I know there are female photographers in Miami, but who are they? Where are they? I wanted to find them in one place and thought it would be cool if there was a list or a website somewhere that had this information,” she said.
As (F)empower evolved from a website and social media platform into a community organization, the women started hosting events based around their mission statement. The collective is open to all young women regardless of their sexual orientations and gender identities.
“The core [of (F)empower] is providing the tools for female-identifying folks to actually be empowered and not just leave it at conversation level, but actually create long-term changes in our community,” said Niki Thaís, 23, a contributing artist and (F)empower’s community outreach coordinator.
The events began as art shows for and by women, but as the collective grew larger it has focused more on the educational aspects of being a marginalized creative person. This year, (F)empower is embarking on a new workshop series about seeking empowerment through giving back to the Earth, as well as instituting a book club in which lesser-known authors will be spotlighted.
These activities, just like previous art shows, possess what the leadership board at (F)empower call “The Four Pillars of Outreach”: education, health and wellness, community building and empowerment.
The first event of 2018 will be Saturday. It is called “Madre” and aims to teach attendees about sustainability, the importance of nutrition and how to help save Mother Earth. Later this year, the group plans to hold a program aimed at women in the music industry.
(F)empower is meant to make an impact by not only creating events for young women, but giving them the tools and spaces to prosper from the shared experiences the collective can grant them, according to Thaís.
If you go
▪ What: Madre
▪ When: 1 p.m. Saturday
▪ Where: The Mother Earth Farm in Little River
▪ What: A series of workshops and events geared towards giving back to and connecting with mother earth.
▪ For details including address and other information, visit madrefempower.splashthat.com