KUAF Arts Beat: Feminism as 'Problematic' in Mixed Media Art Show

Oct 31, 2018

A piece from J.N. Ward's art show "Problematic"
Credit J.N. Ward

Local visual artist J. N. Ward tackles feminism in the Trump era through "Problematic," a mixed media exploration that involves plants, the Notorious R.B.G. and Kim Kardashian for one of the last art shows to hang at a Fayetteville DIY venue before it must close its doors.

"Visually I think it's the perfect place to show art," she says of the crumbling walls of LaLaLand, a venue she's loved going to for music, art and connecting with friends. The space, with a handful of artist studios, which became a thriving DIY venue for art and music beginning in the aughts, is on land now owned by the University of Arkansas, which plans to develop there in 2019.

The show, which she began when she was pregant, tackles the precariousness of her relationship to American feminism. Turns out, becoming a new mother ties in. She doesn't feel like she's doing a good job of juggling it all. 

"We're taught to sacrifice ourselves and make martyrs of ourselves for everyone else but us, but we really can't do a good job at anything if we're not taking care of our own selves," she explains as her baby coos in the studio while being interviewed.

An illustration of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as part of J.N. Ward's show "Problematic."
Credit J.N. Ward

Despite the limits in time and money, Ward sees no way out of creating.

"Not being an artist just isn't an option," she states. "If I'm not creating I'm going stir-crazy and feeling terrible about myself," she admits.

J. N. Ward's "Problematic" art show runs  7-10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at LaLaLand in Fayetteville. Listen to the full conversation in the on-demand streaming link.

Follow all things Arts Beat by adding Of Note with Katy Henriksen on Facebook and Twitter. Connect with our local arts community by sharing this post with #ArtsBeatKUAF online.