With her unintentionally yonic paintings and sculptures and her impact on American Modernism, Georgia O’Keeffe is considered to be the mother of the feminist art movement. Today, Petra Collins, arguably one of the strongest forces in new-wave feminism, pays tribute to her predecessor in a new short film.
Commissioned by London’s Tate Modern to celebrate their massive O’Keeffe exhibition, the piece offers Collins’ surreal, chilling interpretation of the artist and her work. Starring Lee Armoogam, Barbara Ferreira, Seashell Coker, Maia Ruth Lee, and Ajani Russell, the piece envisions some of O’Keeffe’s most poignant works and reinterprets what they mean for young women growing up in the social media age. Opening with a recording of O’Keeffe speaking about the complexities of painting landscapes and the importance of figuring it out in your own way, Collins and her muses then repeat, “They could tell me how they painted their landscape, but they couldn’t tell me how to paint mine.” It rejects the idea of sexualizing young women, and instead puts them in control of their own bodies and minds, as nature intends it to be. Collins says in a statement:
O’Keeffe was one of the first artists that made me appreciate color in a whole new way. Her use of it makes me feel like her landscapes are complex beings. That with each stroke of color, each line, each curve, she’s bringing these locations to life. With this short I wanted each girl to really play with their surroundings (that were inspired by O’Keeffe’s desert and Lake George—her two favourite spots)—to use their every inch of skin, muscle, bone, etc and really put themselves into her landscape too—while making their own.
Watch the short below.