How do we survive and navigate in spaces and systems designed to oppress, exclude, silence, or undermine us? As womxn artists, scientists, activists, and organizers, what do we know about submersion, swimming, sailing, sinking, or seeking the source of our (collective) power—and how do we know it? —Shanai Matteson

In this residency project, artist, writer, and community-based researcher Shanai Matteson (Water Bar & Public Studio) will collaborate with social scientist Mae Davenport (Center for Changing Landscapes) and an emergent network of womxn water and climate science researchers, activists, and artists to “build a ship as we sail it,” and possibly, to “sink a ship while learning how to swim a river…”

Over the course of spring semester, Matteson and collaborators will build and unbuild a raft in conversation with womxn who work at the intersection of water, culture, and environmental justice. In collaboration with comic artist, printmaker, and publisher Zak Sally (La Mano) the project will also seek new ways of using comics, posters, zines, and other popular print media to amplify and activate womxn’s stories of water and culture, and to shape change in our cultural landscape.


Image: Shanai leading a printing workshop at Yo Mama’s House in November 2019. Photograph by Boris Oicherman.