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The Venus Collective: Contesting, Creating and Empowering Women Through Art


Venus Collective, a Chicago community of women artists whose mission is to “continue the efforts of [...] feminist foremothers by honoring women’s cultural and creative contributions around the world,” is hosting their second annual art show. The theme is Just Be and here’s why:

“This year’s theme is one that we all have been resonating with. Call it synchronicity, but this theme is quite fitting for a state that we all yearn to embrace more and more. From the daily hustle, reviewing the past & preparing for the future getting done what needs to get done and making sure you are living out your passion, sometimes its hard to Just Be. So for all of us who struggle to create & live our lives to the fullest, we are yearning for a Soul Revival to elevate us to the self-love we all need.”

Part of their mission is to create leadership opportunities that lead to community collaborations and further, “provides an inclusive space for women to reflect on [their] multiple identities.”

As an artist, I strongly believe that art contests ideas and empowers women. I am thrilled that my piece Butterfly will be a part of this year’s affair. I decided to form part of the Venus Collective’s Just Be: Soul Revival in order to show a facet of my identity, and to support the collective and the event’s beneficiary: Rape Victim Advocates

My artistic philosophy is in line with their mission. The t-shirts I design bring attention to marketing campaigns that use women as mediums for violence and oppression. I radically alter these images by turning them into silhouettes. Below is my short artist bio. I hope you enjoy:

If an advertising campaign is a unit of messages woven into a single idea or theme, than what theme/ideas are being communicated when we encounter women in advertisements?

Through marketing women as sexually available objects, such advertisements have successfully burned these ideas and their signifiers into our brains on three levels: emotional, psychological and physical. As a result, we perform these ideas.

In order to contest images that depicting women's bodies as mediums for violence, I develop stencils from magazine images. In keeping the feminine form, yet erasing any trace of the merchandise worn or the performed expressions, all that remains is an anonymous silhouette prompting us to creatively imagine or think about the substance, thus challenging our emotional and psychological anxieties and physical performances.

Claudia obtained a dual B.A. in Philosophy and Women and Gender studies. Not a formally trained artist, she enjoys designing creative clothing that offers style with a heart.

Butterfly (back view)
Just Be: Soul Revival



mihoaida's picture



Thanks for sharing your work! They are beautiful. I like how you integrate your art into empowering women. I strongly agree how the media impact how we portrait women - mostly as an sexual object. I am a surfer and every time I read the Surfer Magazine, I find women in the magazine are always shown in bikinis and most of the time, they are not surfing. And, these women are almost always white women. Like you said, The media has such a huge effect - emotional, phycological and physical. You use your art, I use photography and videos to change that.

Keep up the great work, Claudia!


Miho Aida

Farona's picture

Thank you for sharing this

Thank you for sharing this wonderful event info. I genuinely love your idea of using t-shirt designing to highlight this particular issue.

I do hope you will keep us updated regarding your work and the event.

With Best Wishes

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