Browse Exhibits (1 total)

A Box of One's Own: Women Beyond Borders


“Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners ... she will be born.”

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

What does a woman need to become an artist? Virginia Woolf’s response, in the 1929 essay A Room of One’s Own, was money, a private room, training, and leisure. A small wooden box, 3.5 by 2 by 2.5 inches, and grassroots artivism are the means chosen by Women Beyond Borders to answer that same question. Founded by Lorraine Serena in 1991, the cross-cultural project invited women—with varying levels of artistic education—to transform a box to one’s liking, encompassing more than 900 participants across 50 countries. A Box of One’s Own explores how Women Beyond Borders fostered experimental spaces for doing-it-yourself and doing-it-together and highlighted artistic media often dismissed as being coded feminine. Through feminist practice and collectivity, artists, curators, and coordinators challenged hurdles for artistic expression in a wide array of geopolitical contexts.

This exhibition is organized around four interconnecting constellations: Body, Home, Craft, and Memory. Cis and trans women’s bodies have been centered in political and moral disputes, yet they stand at the frontline of change seeking justice, safety, and pleasure. Home is the space where one rests, nurtures, and creates; it is one’s haven. Craft epitomizes both women’s uncompensated labor and traditional artmaking, acknowledging their crucial role in safeguarding this knowledge. Memory is the raw material of history, weaving together private moments, national myths and tragedies, stories, prayers, and manifestos. Alongside the boxes, we invite you to hear the voices of their makers and to honor Women Beyond Borders’ legacy of dialogue, healing, and liberation.