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Arts event to celebrate International Women's Day, March 8

by Lindsay Kyte

Female Suppression by Shayli Vere

Artist Shayli Vere sees a need to enlighten people about what it means to be a woman. “A few years ago, a group of women tried to celebrate International Women’s Day in a campground in PEI,” says Vere. “They were just women together—camping, singing songs and things like that. And because they were celebrating ‘the goddess,’ which is essentially just celebrating women, they were all kicked out for being witches. So I’d like to see us move beyond this.”

Vere, along with fellow artist Michelle Ridgway, have organized an event at the Kier Gallery called “The Maid, Mother and Crone,” symbolizing the different stages of the female’s life and looking at the history of the female. “It’s just a bunch of women artists getting together and celebrating being a woman and being a goddess,” says Vere.

The event is part of a series of happenings on March 8 commemorating International Women’s Day. Vere’s event is the final stop, and begins at 8 pm. Admission is free. Other contributing artists are Teresa Doyle, Sandy Kowalik, Sylvia Ridgway, Kate Poole, Doreen Foster, Andrea McVean, Michelle Ridgway and Sandy McKinnon.

Vere says it was important to her that this event take place in connection with International Women’s Day. “This is a way to share with people the art and the women that have decided to explore the goddess in their work,” she says. “There will be drummers and possibly a dancer along with visual artists.”

Having drummers is especially significant. “The drummers are important because before Christianity, women were the spiritual leaders and drumming and music was considered a female act,” explains Vere. “So we were the first drummers. The drummers will have framed drums, one of the first instruments that the world created. It will be to celebrate creation and women as the givers of life.”

Vere says the event is also important to her personally. “We’re overdosed with male outlooks in our life, and for me it’s just taking a look at women for a change," she says. “And what it means in my own life—that I’ve gone through the ‘maid’ stage and I’m into ‘mother’ now. And it’s more important to me now, the stages of growth that women go through.”

Vere says she is especially excited to collaborate with other women. “I think that women are sort of looked at in a negative way if they’re grouped together. That’s a shame. Because men do all kinds of things together and when women do, we’re labeled in certain ways. I hope we'll be helping to move beyond that realm with this event.”

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