Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Amber Hawk Swanson
I am a Jewish Filipina American, a hybrid of two hyper feminine archetypes: the Jewish American Princess and the Pinay Beauty Queen. Generations of assimilation, colonization and genocide taught my matriarchs to internalize the white male gaze. It was not until I looked in the mirror that I saw her. She understands the importance of performance and appearances because she knows, in a world that will not protect you, there is safety in conforming to feminine norms. She uses her knowledge of pop culture, beauty standards, humor, class symbols and social acceptability to imitate and perform desirable [white] femininity and achieve objecthood. She knows becoming an object of desire provides an illusion of protection. She is still vulnerable to real danger. She feels your gaze, depending on how safe she feels, she may open up, deflect, misdirect, camouflage or politely decline. She reflects her environment and evolves over time. She is art, artist, and audience; hyper visible and Miss Understood.
Schwartz, Zoe, "Shalom" (2022). Masters Theses. 964.
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View exhibition online: Zoe Schwartz, Please Don't Hurt Me