Deborah Oak Cooper
Art, activism and magic are one and the same to me. As far back as I can remember I have collected things and then put them together in a ritualistic manner. My earliest memory of this is creating a shrine to Barbie in a shoebox after an overnight with a Catholic friend in kindergarten. I make things out of things and everything I make is a spell, an invocation and a prayer.
I feel compelled to put pieces together to make a new whole. I never know what that whole will be when I start, but I know my intention and I begin. I’m especially drawn to using the detritus of femininity – buttons, hankies, old costume jewelry – to create spells which not only challenge, but devoke patriarchy and white supremacy. Themes that are recurrent in my lifetime have been hands, bees, hearts and eggs. Bees pollinate, hands do the work of change, hearts are meant to open and eggs represent birth.
Since the 2016 election, all my art and magic have been focused on Waving Goodbye to the Patriarchy. I started out making prayer flags that were imbued with this sentiment and this eventually resulted in portable prayer flags in the form of vintage women’s hankies. My other art (all mixed media) has carried this sentiment forward and have been invocations of the same.