Young Women Artists Promote Feminist Message At "#Conceptual"

Jun 10, 2015

Kangie West's watercolor painting "Bloody." West and her two friends, Jade Gordon and Nicole Zizi, founded an art collective named the Conceptual Vaginas.
Credit Courtesy Kangie West

Seventeen-year-old Jade Gordon graduated from high school last week. But she’ll have another graduation of sorts.

Gordon, along with her longtime friends Nicole Zizi and Kangie West, will launch their new art collective’s first event, called #Conceptual.

The teenagers wanted to create a feminist space that empowers women artists. The collective’s name says it all: the Conceptual Vaginas.

“Our goal and kind of our motive for Conceptual is to create a safe and cooperative place where all women’s talents are noticed and welcome,” Gordon says.

At #Conceptual, only women will perform, showcase their art and sell designs and clothing.

The Conceptual brand was in the works since 2014, but it wasn't until March of this year when the three friends started planning #Conceptual, the event.

Before starting their own, Gordon, Zizi and West were part of an art collective that contained a male-only subgroup called ABSTRVCT (pronounced like "abstract"). They say experienced sexism within the collective, so they decided to branch out and form their own groups.

“When we’re involved in other events, it’s mostly, usually men that the event is focused on,” Gordon says. “There might be one or two women thrown into the mix that don’t really get noticed for their talents.”

The Conceptual members believe that women in general should have their own outlets to express themselves.

“There is more concept to them,” West says. She adds that #Conceptual promotes unity among women. “We wanted to create a platform where females were comfortable working with each other,” she says.

Jade Gordon's "Donnie?" is one work in a series based on the film "Donnie Darko." In the fall, Gordon will attend the Pratt Institute in New York City.
Credit Courtesy Jade Gordon

The three plan to pursue art as a career.

Gordon will go to college at the Pratt Institute in New York City to study painting and gain some experience with sculpture.

Zizi won’t be too far. This fall, she will head to The New School’s Parsons School of Design in New York City.

West says she plans to improve her skills as an artist and possibly go to college in the winter.

#Conceptual will take place 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, June 13 at Fussé Studios in Little Haiti. For more information, visit conceptualvaginas.eventbrite.com. Tickets can be purchased at the door the day of the event.