On February 3rd, the doors of the Marquis Room opened for the Take Back the Night Calgary committee’s first fundraiser for the annual march that has taken place every fall for the past 23 years.
Last year’s Take Back the Night (TBTN) march was funded by a one-time Arusha grant, while this year’s budget is hoped to be collected through the month-long art show, inspired by the theme "Body Image: Beyond the Female Body".
"It’s the first fundraiser we’ve ever done," says Juliet Burgess, chair of the TBTN Calgary committee, regarding the evening of "general mingling and having of wine, talking about art."
The Take Back the Night Calgary grass roots committee was founded just two and a half years ago.
"We have a great committee of cool ladies involved in the art scene," says Burgess, noting the crew is keen on other issues too.
"We’re really supportive of trying to get across the importance of queer issues in this show as well... to illustrate the gender spectrum in the program," Burgess continues. "I think everyone in the committee but one of us is queer."
Opening night was highlighted by burlesque and a drag queen troupe performance, as well as appearances by spoken word artists. Of the 30 submissions received by the TBTN team, 15 local artists were selected to contribute work to the February show - three of whom are male.
"We do have some dudes in the show," Burgess says. "The male perspective is important as well in this situation."
The selections committee, composed of respected artists and women’s advocates active in the community, adjudicated the submissions based on the "general quality of the work and artist’s skill, keeping with the theme of the image of a woman and how it is used for society’s purposes," Burgess explains. "How the world views us; how they see women at first glance."
Some material submitted was very "Sexually charged," Burgess says. "We didn’t want to objectify anybody, but then realized that objectification is a part of how society views [women]."
The show aims to exemplify "the pain and tribulations that come along with womanhood" through textiles, painting, sculpture and prints.
On February 12th and 13th, the Market Collective has generously donated space for some of the artists selected in the Take Back the Night Marquis Room Show to showcase their pieces, as well as any additional works of their choosing.
A number of the selected artists will donate proceeds of any sale made at the Marquis Room to the TBTN committee.
Burgess says based on the success of this month’s event, we could be seeing an annual TBTN event take place every February.
"If the community demands it, we’ll keep it going in future years," she says. "Women’s issues, body issues – these issues are still important to women everywhere."
Calgary’s annual Take Back the Night march is slated for late September, though the firm date cannot be announced until 60 days prior to the event; City of Calgary rules.