Eva Barois De Caevel

Introduction

Essay

Intersectional Feminisms — understood through the lens of colonial legacies — is an opportunity to highlight the necessity to incorporate forms of feminism into a political project of global emancipation that pays attention to every oppression. While a large part of contemporary feminist discourse is mostly advocating for women’s rights and equality, intersectional feminism intends to consider how overlapping identities — including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation — impact women’s experiences of oppression and discrimination.

A feminist discourse that only focuses on women’s rights and equality is not only often ethnocentric, but beneath its concern for women’s emancipation, it is drawn by a long-time fear of alterity. This kind of feminism can even be used to discredit and banish some people within a society (for instance the veiled women — and their men); and to maintain power relationships as they have always been. This kind of feminism is also the most prominent through its connection to the institution, to the State and its logics of domination.

Intersectional feminism is thus a call to work on a global analysis of the power relationships that structure societies: "[…] remind yourselves as often as possible that even as individual victories are claimed, the ultimate elimination of sexist violence will depend on our ability to build a new and revolutionary global order, in which every form of oppression and violence against humankind is obliterated" (Angela Davis in a 1985 lecture at Florida State University). Davis’ words recall this necessity to think feminism totally and transnationally: feminism should be an analysis of the alienation of women through the history of capitalism and its advent; and at the scale of the planet. This also means that you can not consider your own emancipation as a Western woman without thinking that it depends on the emancipation of other women.

Women should work for a global — not partial — emancipation; their feminism should be able to think the entirety of women — white and non-white — and the entirety of discriminations — of gender, race and class.

Invited by Alya Sebti, Director of the ifa Gallery, for the third chapter — intersectional feminism — of her one-year research and exhibition programme Untie to Tie On Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Societies, curator Eva Barois De Caevel chose to present a solo show by artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji.