Mightier than a trampled flower

women* in (post-)war, demystifying woman*hood and queer-feminist alliance

Mightier Than a Trampled Flower
Illustration artwork "Ishtar and the Mightier Flowers" by Dariushka Alexander

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women* in (post-)war, demystifying woman*hood and queer-feminist alliance

The past centuries have seen numerous wars that glorified killing and dying and justified violence against nature. Nations of material wealth craved mastery and estranged people from one another. The illusion of victory and the will to conquer crumble into debris, where the post-war world can hardly catch its breath.

Women* are in the middle of this burning carnage. Women*s bodies become battlefields, where the effects of war are intensified and its structures are internalized. Women* in wars live through intra-community, national and colonial violence. Women*s experience of a war is, however, more than a trauma, much more than a pathological state of mind. Women* in wars are more than victims, rougher and stronger than trampled flowers. In their every gesture towards survival, we see burning tigers fighting for life.

Mightier than a Trampled Flower is a witness to women* in wars and against the history-making that is neglectful of experiences of the marginalized. It sheds light on the struggles of women*, whose chronicles are entangled with colonialism and decolonial movements, such as: women* in Brazil facing the threat of pervasive femicide, women* resistance fighters in the Algerian War of Independence, and “comfort women”, the survivors of forced sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army. Imperialist warfares are rooted in the illusion of mastery which attempts to condition the reality of women*. In this reality, women* live through displacement and relocation. Through migration and exile, somatic remobilization and reassignment of social roles, women* continue to diverge and redefine what women*hood can be.

Numerous representations of women* in wars are symptomatic of patriarchal-colonial oppression – tender nurses, sacrificial mothers, female heroines creating a niche in male-dominated slaughters. Mightier than a Trampled Flower deconstructs the fetishization of “a trampled flower” – broken and fragile but still pretty and soft, while tackling the gender binary embedded in our language and reclaiming woman*hood in the hands of women* fighters.

In the spirit of Unthinking Mastery (Julietta Singh, 2017), Mightier than a Trampled Flower practices alertness against and dreaming beyond mastery. Mastery emerges “where it is least expected,” even in our own endeavors towards decolonized humanity. Mightier than a Trampled Flower is a platform for queer-feminist alliance of collective learning and intersectional resistance, which refrains from the tactics of (counter-)mastery and reproduction of violence, domination and exclusion.

Mightier than a Trampled Flower is an ongoing curatorial focus of Oyoun Berlin with artistic projects anchored in different forms of woman*hood in war. The focus launches in April 2022 with the project AS* PAPANGUS by the Afro-Brazilian artist Bruna Amaro. Besides the public program and presentations of projects, Mightier than a Trampled Flower hosts a series of virtual workshops where women* artists, thinkers and activists come together and dwell on the underlying concept, women* in war.

This curatorial focus is supported by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Artistic Direction: Dami Choi, Louna Sbou.