“The Dichotomy of Laundry” art exhibit takes a fresh look at a serious topic

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— A two week pop-up in Santa Barbara called “The Dichotomy of Laundry” takes a fresh look at a serious topic.

After the supreme court’s historic overturning of Roe V. Wade, local artist Colleen M. Kelly channeled her pain and anger into a thought provoking exhibit that is getting people to think about a woman’s right to choose.

“It’s such an individual choice. I mean, every person who experiences pregnancy and decides to have an abortion, it’s not an easy decision. To take that right away from them is just horrific,” said Silo 118 Gallery Owner Bonnie Rubenstein.

“The Dichotomy of Laundry” draws attention to what has historically been the central domain of women— doing laundry.

“There’s the idea of laundry as a playful space running through, you know, children, running through them, playing in between the hanging sheets,” said Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Melinda Palacio.

But laundry also has a dark undertone here.

The exhibit features laundry lines with paper clothing and linens.

“The red symbolizes blood and the white is the sheets… to introduce other colors which might have been distracting. So and she wanted people to focus on the dresses and the sheets,” said Rubenstein.

Messages like “SOS” are etched into the paper clothing. Dashes and dots are burned into Gampi paper in a pattern intended to resemble Morse code. It’s all a part of a united cry for help.

“They give a story of all the different ways that women have lost their agency and different ways that women‘s rights are have been eroded and the the trauma that comes with that,” said Palacio.

Hangers are an important motif here.

“Women used to used to have abortions with coat hangers. They would find any means possible to have an abortion if they didn’t feel like they could carry a child to term or could raise a child. And so this is one of the ways that they had abortions… very often, unsuccessfully, very often they died because of it. But they were so desperate that they would use a hanger to try to abort a fetus,” said Rubenstein.

“The last thing I saw was the wired hanger emptiness pulsed inside me. A river of pain and lingers. I guess I’m lucky to be alive,” recited Palacio from her 5 part poetry installation.

The exhibit will run through July 22nd at the silo 118 in the Funk Zone. Admission is free. Art lovers will be able to purchase the entire installation.

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