Hello Sheila!

A re-make of "Strength without a fist" by Sheila Levrant de Bretteville from 1974.

The Womans Building 1973-1991 in Los Angeles was the first independent separatist feminist culture institution in the world. It served as a center for education, art and activism. The founders, artist Judy Chicago, art historian Arlene Raven and graphic designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville believed in the importance of women creating their own context and work environments. 

Our admiration for the Woman’s Building started a process and an ongoing dialog with one of the founders, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville. One of her iconic work from 1974, a necklace called ”Strength without a fist” implies strong women with agency and vision. The eyebolt was increasingly familiar to the women of the Los Angeles Women’s Building as they worked to literally construct their own spaces and build careers in what were then considered non-traditional professions for women. De Bretteville made the first two necklaces for her colleagues Arlene Raven and Judy Chicago when they started the Feminist Studio Workshop. Since then she has given them to other women who she shares a vision of the creation of pro-women’s culture.

Sisters of Jam have turned the necklace into a monument, aiming to create a dialogue between both history and the present. We see the eyebolt as a symbol for the work already done but also as an encouragement for the work that is not yet completed.

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville

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De Brettevilles iconic work from 1974, the necklace ”Strength without a fist”. In  2014 S.O.J. did a re-make of the work named ”HELLO SHEILA!”, first on display at  the group exhibition Survival Kit and in 2016 permanently installed at the Cultural House in Umeå, Sweden.


Exhibition at Survival Kit Festival, Umeå september 2014

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The installation consist of archive photographs from the Woman´s Building in Los Angeles, sculpture and a video from 1974; ”First day at the Woman´s Building” borrowed from The Getty Research Center, Los Angeles.  About the video: The video show a group of wimmin sitting on the floor and talking about why they have come to join the Woman´s Building. Consciousness raising was an important pedagogical strategy used at the Woman´s Building, sitting in a circle each women was given her own time to speak on a given topic such as money, power, work, sexuality, without interruption the others listened to her. Women revealed deeply private experiences and often discovered that other women had similar experiences. A realization that the personal is political.