Aren’t I a Womyn?

Title:  Aren’t I a Womyn?

Site:  Roberto Clemente High School
1147 N. Western Avenue, Chicago

Artists:  Olivia Gude and Dzine

Community Participants: 13 youths from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Sponsors:  Chicago Public Art Group and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Year:  1993

Scale:  10 feet x 101 feet

Materials:  Acrylic paint on masonry

Information:  This spraypaint and acrylic mural on Clemente High School celebrates the strengths and contributions of Third World women. The work combines Dzine’s graffiti lettering with Gude’s painterly images. It was inspired by the words of Julia de Burgos, the noted Puerto Rican poet; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the seventeenth-century Mexican nun and poet who is often referred to as the “first feminist of the Americas”; and Sojourner Truth, the African-American liberationist.

The mural does not depict the women. Instead, giant eyes stare at the viewer accompanied by words of these inspirational women. The women are thus presented as subjects of their own lives, rather than as passive objects for the gaze of onlookers.