Michele Pred’s New Art Exhibit “Freedom Is For Everybody” Highlights Reproductive Rights & Equal Pay

Freedom is For Everybody Electroluminescent Wire on Vintage Purse 13″ x 13 1/2″ x 3″ 2020 Courtesy of projects+gallery and the artist

From May 20 – August 7, Swedish-American artist Michele Pred will showcase a new exhibition titled “Freedom Is For Everybody” at projects+gallery in St. Louis, Missouri. Presented by Barrett Barrera Projects, this exhibit engages the current policies and political structures and presents Michele’s artwork as a call to action.

In her artistic practice, Pred uses sculpture, assemblage and performance to uncover the cultural and political meaning behind everyday objects, with a concentration on feminist themes such as equal pay, reproductive rights, and personal security. As Pred’s work implores us, now more than ever we must raise our voices to protect the freedom of all bodies, especially those historically disempowered.

Equal Pay American Flag, acrylic, dollar bills and ink on wood panel 39″ x 66″ x 1 1/2″ Courtesy of projects+gallery and the artist

While Trump and his administration filled with anti-choice people may be gone, under President Biden, the work to secure and maintain bodily autonomy is not over. He has repealed the Global Gag Rule and promised to end the discriminatory Hyde Amendment which disproportionately targets low-income and people of color. On the state level however, we are seeing attacks on bodily autonomy continue in states that are hostile to equal rights. Anti-trans bills and anti-abortion bills are being proposed at a rapid pace, and those that end up being challenged in court could very well make their way up to the ultra-conservative US Supreme Court where they may permanently take away certain rights of people to make decisions about their bodies and lives. In short, this is no time to take our foot off the gas, and we need to see the same amount of activism and action being taken under Biden, as was under Trump.

Michele Pred is not slowing down with her message and it is an encouragement to other creatives about the the power of art to push for change. She has gathered pieces from previous exhibits to include in ‘Freedom Is For Everybody’ as a continuation of her activism and message.

In Our Shoes Birth Control Pills, Vintage Shoes, Varnish. 5″ x 10″ x 10.5″ Courtesy of projects+gallery and the artist

Sculptural pieces from a series titled ‘Power of the Purse’ include vintage purses emblazoned in neon with phrases culled from the current social resistance movements, such as ‘Time’s Up’ (2018) and call us to both reflection and action. In this context, the vintage mid-century purses become symbols not only of the modern economic power women hold and the possibilities for change that come with it, but also reminders of that critical era in the women’s movement.

A pair of vintage shoes dotted with unwanted, expired and placebo birth control pills, ‘In Our Shoes’ (2013) underscores the continuing and growing impediments to birth control access and other reproductive health services in the United States.

Feminist Neon on Vintage briefcase 2015 12″ x 18″ x 5″ Courtesy of projects+gallery and the artist

“Anti-progressive forces, sometimes directly and consciously, sometimes not, have been fighting back on a multitude of fronts, but most visibly on issues of what a woman can choose to do with her own body. My work, in part, tries to draw out attention to this wider context,” said the artist in a recent interview.

“Freedom Is For Everybody” functions as a representation of Pred’s commitment to women’s rights issues and a continuation of her larger project to drive these topics of conversation into public spaces. In support of the institutions that fight for and provide necessary services to women, 5% of the proceeds from all sales of her altered purses in the exhibition will also be donated to Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

My Body My Business Vanity and neon 65″ × 52″ × 18″ Courtesy of projects+gallery and the artist
Freedom American Flag on wood 12″ × 63″ × 1 1/2″ Courtesy of projects+gallery and the artist