Designed to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren while reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, Sen. Mitch McConnell did not realize how his very words would twist through our current apparatus of social and news media. A negative appraisal of Warren’s position swiftly became one of positive protest, turning “Nevertheless, she persisted” into the perfect meme for the 4th wave feminist movement. This phrase became an instant call out against the war on women and it's held strong. This soundbite not only addresses women's rights, it's also is a clear statement of censorship.
As a woman and an artist I take this seriously. More importantly, this is a human rights issue. Censorship on social media sites simply cannot recognize the difference between pornography and fine art. This is a continuing struggle for artists like myself who are trying to employ these platforms to get our work out in the world. Due to my own battle with censorship and free speech on Instagram and Facebook, I too am persisting. I proclaim my work as contemporary art, not pornography.
In a time when free speech and freedom of the press is being threatened and net neutrality is on the brink, the issue of censorship is at the forefront yet again. In the last few years I have been posting self-portraits I have had countless images reported and deleted even when self-censored. A majority of artists use Instagram as their online portfolios, yet I have seen my entire account wiped out and I am not alone. So I persist.
Why is there a need to cover up the female body? Why are we to hide what nature has given us? The drawings in this series stem from the frustration of having to crop entire images or self-censor, sometimes that's not enough. Apparently renderings of the nude body are ok but photographs are not. My own renderings enable me to blur that line. Taking a page from film noir and the 70's/80's lighting aesthetic of bright lights basking through venetian blinds (think Richard Gere in "American Gigiolo" or The Cars' "Drive" video) I take my body into graphic lines and shapes while using the lines to cover up the bits which are NSFW. Am I able to throw off IG's algorithm when detecting a breast? Or is some unknown foe reporting me? These questions go unanswered and most of us who are constantly dealing with this want answers. So I persist.
-Savannah Spirit, Summer, 2017