Finding My Conviction (Canadian artist refuses to attend her show in USA)

In light of current political events in the USA that are deeply affecting the entire world, I have the following statement regarding my upcoming show in the USA.

From my artist statement…
My work is full of visual puns, double entendre, symbolism and satire. It references the dichotomy of my early life expectations to conform to a traditional woman’s role, when in fact, reality for me, was the need to be self-sufficient and support myself as an entrepreneur and business owner. These contradictions allow me to expose my private self through veiled metaphor creating objects significant beyond function. The underlying message – the essence of my work – speaks to the roles and rights of girls and women.

Keeper of the Faith, Encaustic, copper pot scrubber, glass vials, book pages & string, 23″h x 4.25″w x 5″d

My work has meaning. It’s about choice. It’s about girls, and boys too, but mostly girls, who, due to tradition or religion, don’t get to choose. They are married off as soon as they hit puberty and often left to fend for themselves and their children because of war, strife or circumstance.

Gender inequality exists. It exists in Canada, the USA, throughout the western world, but is most prevalent in developing nations. I want to bring awareness to the importance of education and the role it has in shaping future generations. If girls are educated and given choices, they can influence the world.


I’d like to share a few stats with you. Plan Canada and its subsidiary Because I am a Girl states that…

1. For every extra year a girl stays in school, her income can increase by 10 to 20%
2. A girl in the developing world receiving 7 years of education marries 4 years later on average and has fewer, yet healthier, children
3. If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths

Knowledge is power and knowledge is empowering. There’s choice. When there is no alternative there is no choice.


Henigman Bruce – Justice, Encaustic, fabric, book pages & string, 16.5″h x 4.25″w x 4.5″d

Why am I telling you all this? Because I am part of a 2 person show opening at Frederick Holmes in Seattle on March 3. It means I get to take my white privilege and cross the border into the United States from Canada. I have a Canadian passport, so I should be able to travel unhindered.

EXCEPT, how in good conscious can I travel unhindered when the rights the very people my work speaks to are being detained and turned back?

An incident on Feb 4 had a Canadian woman turned away from U.S. border after questions about religion. She was turned back because she’s muslim. We were told that if you had a Canadian passport there would be no problem crossing the border. They forgot to say you also had to be white, and show no outward signs of your ethnicity.

I could go to the opening and speak about education for girls to a handful of people who already know how important it is. Or I can take this stand and just say NO, it’s not right.

I know, little ol’ me, who is going to notice. Simple. I am going to notice and it is me that I have to live with.

I am very grateful for the support from Frederick Holmes on my boycott of my own show. He works tirelessly for his artists and will be my standin.

Here is Fred’s statement:

 “As her gallery dealer the last few years, and one who has come to know Kim Bruce’s passionate dedication to the mission of her work – as well as an American citizen concerned about the marginalization of people by gender, faith, or race – I support her decision absolutely and without reservation. Her presence at the opening will be missed but her work will speak for her.” – Frederick R. Holmes

As individuals, as artists, as Canadians, as citizens of the world, we must find our conviction.

My conviction says NO, we must stand united.

Further reading:

Canadian woman en route to Vermont spa denied entry to U.S., told she needs immigrant visa

22 refugees entered Manitoba near Emerson border over the weekend

5th Canadian reports being denied entry to U.S. after questions about Moroccan roots, Muslim faith

Pre-clearance bill would give U.S. border agents in Canada new powers

EXHIBITION IMAGES


 

Kim Henigman Bruce, what’s with the name change?

kim-henigman-bruceSince 1979 I have been known as Kim Bruce. But in 1979 we didn’t have the internet and Facebook, Twitter and all those other social media sites that have made the world seem very small indeed.

I always thought Kim was a unique name. There was only one other Kim in my class at grade school and she was a Kimberly. Me, I am a straight up KIM. Short for nothing and sweet to boot.

I have gone by Kim my entire life but my real first name is Sharon (there you have it, my secrets out). Why, you ask, did my parents not name me Kim Sharon rather than Sharon Kim? Because Sharon Kim rolls off the tongue better than Kim Sharon. Huh? Yup. The only problem, after almost 60 years on this planet, is that I am still waiting for someone to call Sharon Kim out loud. No one ever has. I do get called Sharon officially by the gov, banks and other institutions because Sharon is my legal first name and appears on my official docs that way. Thanks for a really cool second name though, mom and dad.

So that’s the goods on my first name. Now for the real reason I’m writing.

For those of you that know me, the noticeable addition to my name is Henigman. Which is my maiden name and it’s not really all that common. It is Austrian in origin. I’m not really sure what it means but I imagine that my ancestors were hen and egg men. Makes sense, right?

Bruce on the other hand is right up there with the Smith and Jones’s. Well maybe not but there’s enough of us. It’s also weird having two first names. I very rarely remember having to spell Henigman but Bruce, very single time. I think because it’s too obvious and people think they heard it wrong. Then there’s the reaction of some when I answer the phone and they say they thought I was male and were expecting an Asian accent. It has happened, more than once. Kim is a very common last name in Korea and they put their last name first.

When you Google Kim Bruce, the search engine returns are all about Kim Kardashian, Bruce Willis, Bruce Jenner and Bruce Lee. I come up too, somewhere. If you add “artist” or “sculpture” that gets me to the top.

So those are all the strange things about my name but the main reason for the change is that there are, to my knowledge, 4 other Kim Bruce’s that are also artists.

There’s are couple of potters, an equine artist and an abstract artist. Kimberley Bruce the abstract artist is also a client of mine at Artbiz.ca.

I thought it prudent to add the Henigman to help identify myself. It is becoming more important now, since I have more gallery representation and am getting into a few more shows, a couple of them solo.

As an artist my name is my brand, but more than that it’s what I will be remember by. At Artbiz I give pointers on how to select a good domain name and the first question I ask is “How do you want to be remembered by art history?” Well, if I ever get lucky enough to be written about in art history, I would really like it if my name was unique only to me. So I am taking my own advise and adding the Henigman. Kim Henigman Bruce has a ring to it don’t you think?

I am not going to bother changing it legally. From what I understand, as long as I use it consistently it will be acknowledged. Of course anything legal will still be Sharon Bruce.

Over the next few months I will be transitioning this site over to HenigmanBruce.com. But I will always keep KimBruce.ca because it has good rankings (sorry to disappoint you other Kim Bruce’s). Oh, BTW, KimBruce.com is a male realtor in the USA.