By CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT
MAY 22, 2020 | 6 AM I Los Angeles Times
That’s one of the most appealing features of “We Are Here / HereWe Are.” The serendipity of art encounters in public places is embedded in ordinary experience. Going into art museums and galleries is certainly gratifying, but these works thrive beyond institutions or the marketplace Certainly, some works can be taxing. Next to the driveway into an abandoned parking garage on a Sherman Oaks side street, Labkhand Olfatmanesh translates a conundrum about natural and social pressures that women encounter. Her installation features a dozen fluid-filled plastic bags, all tied up in a tree with yards of twine. A bag at the top, just out of reach, holds a baby doll, while another at the base is empty, flattened and held down on the ground by a rock. Within the installation’s plain reference to a tree of life, a subtle intimation of violence echoes in the context of abstention fromelevated motherhood. The tree, unsurprisingly, is an evergreen.
Baby Maybe Ongoing project
by Labkhand Olfatmanesh
The project opportunity is a video and performance installation as part of my multidisciplinary series in public sites, Baby-Maybe, which playfully but seriously investigates my own life decision whether or not to have a child.
My ongoing project comprising performance, photographs, film, interviews with women of child-bearing age, and interactive gallery experiences
Decades after the women’s liberation movement (WLM) of the 1960s, the automatic expectation that a woman will bear children and choose motherhood still persists. This is the case irrespective of geography, race, religion, or ethnicity or the fact that we are in the second millennium, at a time of unprecedented technological progress, an era where an openly gay can be a frontrunner for President of the United States. So much has changed, and yet there are beliefs so ingrained in all of us that they seem stubbornly inescapable. Being born female means being born having to answer to others for the choices you make with regards to your body.
Why do we feel comfortable casually assuming that a woman will have or will plan to have a child? How did bearing a child become a key indicator of a woman’s identity and value? Are women simply forever trapped by virtue of their biology? Will they ever be truly free?