Self-definition and self-determination is about the many varied decisions that we make to compose and journey toward ourselves, about the audacity and strength to proclaim, create, and evolve into who we know ourselves to be. It’s okay if your personal definition in a constant state of flux as you navigate the world.

(Janet Mock)

Jenkins Johnson Projects is pleased to present The Least Orthodox Goddess IV, a group exhibition curated by Jasmine Wahi featuring works by Felipe Baeza, Darío Calmese, David Antonio Cruz, Delano Dunn, Jonathan Gardenhire, Billy Ray Morgan, Zachary Richardson, and Kiyan Williams. The Least Orthodox Goddess IV is part of an ongoing series of exhibitions that originally started as an exploration of intersectional feminism through the lens of womxn power. IV dives into the idea of what constitutes female identity within the contemporary context: it looks at what it means to be a ‘goddess’ outside of the constraints of physiological or socially constructed expectations: what it means to be cis vs trans vs non-binary, what it means to be of color vs black vs white vs brown, what it means to be subjugated and/or be venerated. This exhibition implores us to contend with grey areas within a larger system that is rooted in binary understandings of everything the world has to offer.

Within this framework, many works in the exhibition dives further into the idea of how ‘divinity’ is determined. It urges the viewer to examine the parameters or boundaries of who/what is venerated within the rigid mainstream structure of social acceptability. It strives to highlight persons who have bent, flexed, and subverted the notions of what does or does not define the ‘feminine’ or ‘femme’. Some of the female identified persons who are portrayed in this iteration of LOG have been victims of unimaginable violence (physical, psychological, and cultural) because of their identities- be they gender orientation, sexual orientation, cultural affiliation, and/or racial presentation. The exhibition seeks to honor their strength and sacrifice while exploring the idea or culturally non-specific trope of ‘goddess.’

As with other exhibitions in this series, IV, takes a survey approach to the topic of gender empowerment, identity, and violence. It looks at a wide range of examples as an indicator of the pervasiveness of gender and sexual discrimination across identities and cultures, with a particular emphasis on bodies of color. The overarching thread amongst the works is not only to acknowledge a violence; but also, to celebrate those who have been rendered invisible or unimportant by sharing their stories.