Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Amazons, Goddesses, and Wonder Women: A Fulbright Journey

Amazons, Goddesses, and Wonder Women: A Fulbright Journey

On View November 1 - November 23, 2022 Kniznick Gallery
Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center, 415 South St, Waltham MA

Since 2020, Donna Dodson has collaborated with several artists and scholars to translate her wood sculpture series “Amazons Among Us” into a variety of mediums, including poetry and animation. Dodson’s sculptures are inspired by legendary warrior women such as the ancient Amazons of the steppes, the Dahomey of West Africa, and the Rani of Jhansi.

As Dodson’s heroines transform through porous materials of wood, word, and pixels, this interdisciplinary collaboration honors the endurance of ancient storytelling and extends it towards a posthuman future. Earthy, sensuous wooden icons encounter digital avatars of infinitude. A score of poetry written by K. Melchor Hall grounds the environment. Amazons, Goddesses, and Wonder Women examines how historical and futurist feminist mythologies can evoke ancestral connection, a sense of resiliency, and belonging. Audiences are invited to consider their own presence amongst these figures and how they can help craft legacies of social transformation and restorative justice.

This exhibition features wood sculptures by Brandeis University WSRC Resident Scholar Donna Dodson, poems by Brandeis University WSRC Resident Scholar K. Melchor Hall, collaborative animations with Trina Baker, Lesley University Chair of Animation and Eric Keller, professional animator and CG artist, with concept art, storyboards and 3D models by Lesley University interns Lexy Saunders, Paola Almonte Colon, and Sarah Clifford and research/image banks by Brandeis University Student Scholar Partners Pilar Duvivier and Cyrenity Augustin. Alongside this artwork, the exhibition will feature feminist animations from Dodson‘s international colleagues, Anna Dudko (Ukraine), Camila Kater (Brazil), and Renee Zhan (UK) whom she met during her Fulbright US Scholar Artist Residency at Q21/MQ in Vienna, Austria, with her host, Tricky Women/Tricky Realities, the world’s first and only animation festival for women artists.

Amazons, Goddesses, and Wonder Women: A Fulbright Journey is curated by Maya Rubio. 

Opening Reception and Fulbright Panel Discussion:  November 1, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the WSRC | Fulbright Award-winning scholars Donna Dodson, K. Melchor Hall, Djounia Saint-Fleurant, Hoang Duong Thien, and Aishah Winter share their experiences and insight into the Fulbright process. Please RSVP  to attend this in person event.

On Feminist Animation: A Panel Discussion Moderated by Donna Dodson.  A virtual panel of feminist animators including Trina Baker, Christine Banna, Sarah E. Jenkins, Atia Newman and Shanti Thakur, November 8, 2022, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Please Register to receive the zoom link for this virtual event.

On Collaboration: A Panel Discussion Moderated by Maya Rubio with Trina Baker, Donna Dodson, K. Melchor Hall, Cyrenity Augustin, Pilar Duvivier, and Paola Almonte Colon. Exhibiting artists speak with the exhibition curator about the process of working in large teams on collaborative projects. November 15, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the WSRC. Please RSVP to attend this in person event.

Thank you to the Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center Kniznick Gallery, Puffin Foundation, Fulbright Austria, Fulbright US Scholar Fellowship, Tricky Women/Tricky Realities and Lesley University for their support of this project.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Fulbright US Scholar

Donna Dodson, an artist from Maynard, Massachusetts, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in the Visual Arts for the 2021-2022 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Dodson is one of over 800 U.S. citizens who will conduct research or teach abroad for the 2020-2021 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. With the support of Fulbright Austria, Donna will work as an artist in residence at Q21/Museums Quartier with her host institution Tricky Women/Tricky Realities, the world's first and only digital animation festival for women. She will complete the project "Amazons, Goddesses and Wonder Women," by translating her wood sculptures into digital avatars and writing the script in collaboration with Trina Baker, an award-winning animator and Maynard artist. Both Dodson and Baker have been awarded grants from several Massachusetts Cultural Councils for this project. In particular, The Maynard Cultural Council is proud to have contributed seed money to launch this international project. 

“Donna's sculptures are elegantly crafted in wood at her art studio in Maynard. She met Baker at Artspace Maynard which plays a critical role as a connecting place and arts hub for the community where projects such as this one happen. Using cutting edge technology, this world class collaborative project between Dodson and Baker embodies the highest ideals of the Maynard community, and we are proud of her and grateful to the Fulbright Commission for her selection as a U.S. Scholar," Maynard Cultural Council chair Sara Lundberg said.

Fulbrighters engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions. Upon returning to their home countries, institutions, labs, and classrooms, they share their stories. They often become active supporters of international exchange, inviting foreign scholars to campus, and encouraging colleagues and students to go abroad. As Fulbright Scholar alumni, their careers are enriched by joining a network of thousands of esteemed scholars, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Fulbright alumni include 60 Nobel Prize laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government. Fubrighters address critical global challenges in all disciplines while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, counter misunderstandings, and help people and nations work together toward common goals. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled more than 390,000 diverse, dedicated and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and solve shared international concerns. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations worldwide also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

In the United States, the Institute of International Education supports implementing the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.

Update: Tessa Venell, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, published an in depth article on my forthcoming Fulbright project on June 10, 2021, "Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center Announces Fulbright Award for 2021-2022." Josh Idaszak, Office of Communications & Public Affairs at Wellesley College, published a profile of my upcoming Fulbright project along with other alums from my alma mater, on August 17, 2021, "Wellesley’s 2021-22 Fulbrights Prepare to Launch into the World." Listen to the Ladies Knight podcast with Jen Shahade featuring Donna Dodson LK036, Nov 18, 2021. Watch a recording of the Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center's Fall lecture on Dec 2, 2021, "Damsel in Charge: Inventing a Powerful Female Stereotype," with Fulbright US Scholar, Donna Dodson engaged in conversation with award-winning animator Trina Baker on their joint collaboration where Dodson's Amazon warrior sculptures are translated into three-dimensional digital characters in a short animation with the assistance of Brandeis Student Scholar partners, Cyrenity Augustin and Pilar Duvivier, and Lesley University interns, Lexy Saunders, Aimee Ham and Siana DiGregorio. Watch a recording of my recent presentation on Jan 6, 2022 "What Do We Call Courageous Women" for the session "Queer Representations and Receptions of Amazons" at the Society of Classical Studies/Archaeological Institute of America joint annual meeting 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Award Winning Animators Making Amazing Animations

Award WinningAnimators Making Amazing Animations

(This virtual event was recorded live on Monday March 28th 2022)

Join us for this special conversation with three award winning animators from Argentina, Brazil and France who are working at the cutting edge of technology, innovation and animation. With an introduction by Fulbright Austria and Q21/MQ who generously support Artists in Residence at Tricky Women. Hosted by Trina Baker at Lesley University, whose animation department trains young artists to enter this field of study and encourages undergraduate students to explore study abroad opportunities, artist residencies and learn how to create a meaningful life in art.

Introductory remarks and words of welcome:

Hermann Agis PhD- Executive Director, Fulbright Austria

Mag. Elisabeth Hajek- Artistic Director Q21/MQ Artist in Residence Program

Trina Baker- Artist, Animator and Chair of Animation at Lesley University

Donna Dodson- Fulbright US Scholar, Q21/MQ Artist in Residence, Resident Scholar, Brandeis University

Featured speakers:

Waltraud Grausgruber - Festival directress and co-founder of the Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Festival in Vienna, Austria. Tricky Women/Tricky Realities is the first and only festival of animated film that is dedicated exclusively to animation by women.

Emilce Avalos - Director, Animator, Visual Artist from Argentina. Currently, she is developing the project Mujer Futura (FUTURE WOMAN), an animated documentary series that has received several awards. It was selected to be part of the Focus Latin American Female Directors at the Annecy 2021 Animation Festival, the MIFA Market, and Animation! Ventana Sur, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Héloïse Ferlay - Filmmaker, Director, Animator, Educator from France. Creator of the trailer for Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Festival 2022. Winner of the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Providence Children’s Film Festival for her stop motion animation “Les Filles Du Vent (Girls of the Wind).” Winner of the Q21/MQ Artist in Residence Award at Tricky Women/Tricky Realities 2022. Director of the animated film “A La Mere Poussier (To the Dusty Sea).”

Camilla Kater - Director, screenwriter, animator and educator from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She recently directed the animated documentary short CARNE (Brazil, Spain, 2019), which was qualified for the 2021 Academy Awards Oscar®, and was on the shortlist for the 2021 Goya Award. She is Winner of the Q21/MQ Artist in Residence Award at Tricky Women/Tricky Realities 2020. 


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Amazons Among Us

Amazons Among Us by Donna Dodson May 5th-June 6th 2021

Featuring guest artists Trina Baker & Kledia Spiro and poet Melchor Hall

Opening Night Artist Talks with Donna Dodson, Trina Baker and Kledia Spiro. Watch a video of this event (recorded May 5th)

May 7th: First Friday opening reception 5-8:30p with a performance @ 8p “I should have stuck to ballet” with Kledia Spiro and Janelle Gilchrist Dance Troupe Watch a recording of this event.

Gallery talk by Donna Dodson and Poetry Reading of K. Melchor Quick Hall's "Four Poems." Watch a video of this event (recorded May 15th)

June 4th: First Friday closing reception 5-8:30p with a performance @ 8:45p “She’s a Beast” with Kledia Spiro and Janelle Gilchrist Dance Troupe Watch a recording of this event

Informal meet and greet with the artists: Sundays May 9th,16th and 23rd, 11a-5p

2020 felt almost apocalyptic, rife with divisive politics, racial unrest and a Pandemic that took over half a million American lives. Yet, on the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, history was made when a woman was elected Vice President, ushering in an era of hope as more women rise to take leadership roles in all fields. It is fitting that Wonder Woman celebrates her 80th year as America’s most famous heroine in 2021. The world needs heroines now, and Dodson creates them for this exhibition.

In her new series of wood sculptures, Dodson re-imagines Albrecht Durer’s “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” as Amazon warriors. She uses the traditional medium of woodcarving to suggest that these women have always been among us, but that gender misconceptions have prevented us from recognizing them. Drawing inspiration from legendary warrior women such as the ancient Amazons of the steppes, the Dahomey of West Africa and the Rani of Jhansi, Dodson’s amazons portray courage, strength and grit. Dodson chose to collaborate with artists Trina Baker and Kledia Spiro, and poet Melchor Hall, because of their commitment to social justice. Dodson, Baker, Hall and Spiro are united in their quests to create a new iconography of female empowerment.

In Dodson’s collaboration with Baker, whose work deals with sexual assault and domestic violence, the artists translate Dodson’s Amazon warrior sculptures into three-dimensional digital characters and create a short animation demonstrating their superhero qualities. To continue this project, Dodson has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in the Visual Arts for the 2021-2022 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. In Vienna Austria, Dodson will be an artist in residence at Tricky Women, the world’s only digital animation festival for women artists, to write the storyboard and script. Watch a snippet of the animation “Alpha Female Embodies Wonder Woman” here.

Spiro feels a deep connection to the fictional character Xena, the Warrior Princess. For this exhibition, she premieres sculptures, photographs, and a two-channel video in honor of Xena. Audience members will have the opportunity to wear Spiro’s interactive sculpture. Spiro wonders whether we can become our own superheroes, particularly as “girls”. Can we unchain women from society’s expectations of mothers, good house wives, eroticized objects, and irrational emotional beings?

Four Poems

by K. Melchor Quick Hall

written for mothers, daughters, wives, and lady lovers

especially intersex, trans, masculine, and chosen family

in harmony with animals, plants, natural elements, and wilderness

for girls and women who are/were boyish or manly

who have been made feminine in the face of myopic visions

we need your queer courage and strength

to struggle together in this fight that requires a womanish touch

to disrupt capitalist-driven inequitably uneven apocalypse

and to aim for fertile feral feminist futures

Hall responds to Dodson’s sculptures and themes of super-heroism and able-bodied-ness with several prose poems on display as part of the exhibition. Hall’s poems address the gendered contrasts of strength and weaknesses, youthfulness and aging as well as the protection of self and others in relationships. Read the full text of Hall’s Four Poems here.

This exhibition offers the audience inspiring words and images of women to uplift and inspire the amazons among us who have yet to discover their own superpowers.

May 20th @ 7pm: A Virtual Conversation with Donna Dodson, Trina Baker, Kledia Spiro and Melchor Hall moderated by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein on the Future of the Feminist Imagination Watch a recording of this event

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
 is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and core faculty in women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire. She is also a columnist for New Scientist and Physics World. Her research in theoretical physics focuses on cosmology, neutron stars, and dark matter. She also does research in Black feminist science, technology, and society studies. Nature recognized her as one of 10 people who shaped science in 2020, and Essence magazine has recognized her as one of “15 Black Women Who Are Paving the Way in STEM and Breaking Barriers.” A cofounder of Particles for Justice, she received the 2017 LGBT+ Physicists Acknowledgement of Excellence Award for her contributions to improving conditions for marginalized people in physics and the 2021 American Physical Society Edward A. Bouchet Award for her contributions to particle cosmology. Originally from East L.A., she divides her time between the New Hampshire Seacoast and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her first book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, (2021) is published by Bold Type Books.

Trina Baker has shown her paintings, drawings, and artist books nationally and internationally in galleries and corporate collections. Baker’s animations have received numerous awards including a Pixie, which honors outstanding work in Motion Graphics, Visual Effects and Animation and two International CINDY (Cinema in Industry) awards.  Her work tackles social justice issues such as  domestic violence and sexual assault.  Trina currently Chairs the Animation Department at Lesley Art + Design.

Donna Dodson is a Visiting Scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center and a member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery. She has complete numerous international residencies and her work is in many private and public collections. Her “Seagull Cinderella” sculpture attracted international media attention. Donna will be a Fulbright US Scholar working as an artist in residence at Tricky Women in Vienna Austria in 2022. Dodson is a graduate of Wellesley College. Her forthcoming paper “What do we call courageous women” will be presented at the Society for Classical Studies annual meeting in 2022.

K. Melchor Quick Hall, PhD., is a Black feminist scholar-activist crossing disciplinary and national borders. Dr. Hall is the author of Naming a Transnational Black Feminist Framework: Writing in Darkness and co-editor of Mapping Gendered Ecologies: Engaging with and beyond Ecowomanism and Ecofeminism with Gwyn Kirk. Framing Reproductive (In)Justice: A Picture Perfect Gruesome Negress Hurt-storyher poem about Black mothers and their children was published in MoMA Magazine.

Kledia Spiro creates videos, performances, installations, and paintings. Born in Albania, she was a member of an Olympic weightlifting team. Kledia uses weightlifting as a vehicle for discussing women’s roles in society, immigration, and war. Spiro has exhibited nationally at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Queens Museum, NY; SAIC Sullivan Galleries, Chicago; Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire; and the ProArts Gallery in Oakland, CA.

Donna Dodson: Amazons Among Us runs concurrently with Wood stone poem Meditations on The Natural by Andy Moerlein. All events are free and open to the public following COVID -19 protocols.  

Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center Spring 2021 Lecture:
Amazons – Non-Western Perspectives and Contemporary Interpretations in Art

Thursday April 27, 2021, 5-6:30 p.m.

The Amazons of Greek lore have fascinated the imagination of Western audiences for thousands of years.  Lesser known in the West are the stories of the historical women upon whom the legend of the Amazons are based, such as Tomyris, the warrior queen of the nomadic Central Asian tribe of the Massagetae.   In this wide-ranging lecture, Walter Penrose, Jr. will discuss the ethnic variations which allowed women to be fighters in far flung places from ancient Scythia and China to modern Dahomey and India.  Donna Dodson will then discuss how warrior women from these non-Western cultures have inspired her most recent artistic endeavor in which she translates Albrecht Durer’s The Four Horsemen, from the Apocalypse Series, into sculpted “Amazon” women warriors.

Co-Presenters Walter D. Penrose Jr, Associate Professor of History at San Diego State University, is the author of Postcolonial Amazons: Female Masculinity and Courage in Ancient Greek and Sanskrit Literature. Donna Dodson, a Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, is an award-winning sculptor.

Women Warriors: Donna Dodson and Trina Baker in Conversation. A Virtual Lecture series made possible by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Dodson and Baker both take inspiration from civic minded heroines from their own families: Dodson’s great Aunt, an officer in the WACs, and Baker’s grandmother, who served four terms in the Connecticut state legislature.

Women Warriors: A Civic Duty, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Sudbury with generous support provided by the Sudbury Cultural Council, Sunday May 2nd @ 2pm. Watch a recording of this event.

Women Warriors and Social Justice, sponsored by the First Parish Church of Stow and Acton with generous support provided by the Stow Cultural Council and the Acton/Boxborough Cultural Council, Saturday May 8th @ 7:30pm. Watch a recording of this event.

Women Warriors and Artistic Collaboration, sponsored by Artspace Maynard with generous support provided by the Maynard Cultural Council, Thursday May 13th @ 7pm.  Watch a recording of this event.

Update: Charles Giuliano, Editor of Berkshire Fine Arts, posted a preview of this show on April 19, 2021 "Amazons Among Us by Donna Dodson." B. Amore posted an advance review of this show on Art New England, May 1st, "Amazons Among Us: Sculpture by Donna Dodson." Magdiela Matta highlighted "Amazons Among Us" on WBUR's 5 Things to do this Weekend on May 6, 2021. James Foritano reviewed this show in depth on May 7, 2021 for Artscope Magazine, DONNA DODSON’S AMAZONS AMONG US & ANDY MOERLEIN’S WOOD STONE POEM AT BOSTON SCULPTORS GALLERY. Cate McQuaid featured this exhibition in her gallery reviews on Tuesday May 25th in the Boston Globe "Artists call upon the ancients at Boston Sculptors Gallery." 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Four Poems by K. Melchor Quick Hall

Four Poems

by K. Melchor Quick Hall

written for mothers, daughters, wives, and lady lovers

especially intersex, trans, masculine, and chosen family

in harmony with animals, plants, natural elements, and wilderness

for girls and women who are/were boyish or manly

who have been made feminine in the face of myopic visions

we need your queer courage and strength

to struggle together in this fight that requires a womanish touch

to disrupt capitalist-driven inequitably uneven apocalypse

and to aim for fertile feral feminist futures

Alpha Female by Donna Dodson

1.       Alpha

Strong Women.

leagues of auxiliary essential workers

wearing practical shoes

long days, muscular legs

strong and feminine

warrior and princess

civility in civics

patriotically underpaid

Sculpt Resistance.

nursing nations

refusing milking

chest plates

breast aches

women’s stance

looking toward horizons

insisting on humanity

Animate History.

part eagle, part cow

eating last

feeding others

body foraging

feeding bodies

making sustenance, taking substance

markings of a warrior goddess

Perform Futures.

performing politeness

serving country

imagining non-country

bird’s view of borders

pacifist’s view of conflict

embracing animality

embodying an alternative

L to R: Black Panther and Cybele by Donna Dodson

2a. Black Panther

Strong Women.

women warriors

resting on thrones

galvanizing troops

afros puffed

activism righteous

seated on buses

weary and woke

Sculpt Resistance.


sitting short and strong

weakness misperceived

aged wisdom

connecting women’s bodies

naming lesbianism

sharing humanity

Animate History.

part panther

also black-coated leopards

also central american jaguars

part comic, part savior

archival margins

dahomey women warriors

re-captured in capitalist cinema

Perform Futures.

performing sankofa

recapturing ten-point platforms

examining archived throne photos

a summer uprising

an era of good trouble

disproportionate harm

radical care and love futures

L to R: Black Panther and Cybele by Donna Dodson

2b. Cybele

Strong Women.

mountain goddess

feral feline companion

crazy cat woman

fertile protectress

commanding chariot

spring sacrifices

queer jealous lovers

Sculpt Resistance.

rejecting religion

making pagan rituals

defending nature

like indigenous water warriors

like land defenders

hovering over and rooting in

our inter-being

Animate History.

part mountain, part earth mother

committed to sisterhood

women’s villages

giving birth to women wonders

matriarchal indigeneity

indignant martyrdom

toxic murders

Perform Futures.

pursuing rights of nature

engaging rites of passage

chariot transformed to hoverboard

human view to goddess view

earthbound to universal

embracing our plant side

queering connection

Lakshmibai: The Rani of Jhansi by Donna Dodson

3.       Laxmibai

Strong Women.

queens and goddesses

mutiny leaders

brahman girls


martial artists

sword fighters

horse riders

Sculpt Resistance.

resisting bio-nationalism

refusing heir making

adopting boys

or girls that are tomboys

or girls that were once boys

or girls that are also boys

water more fluid than blood

Animate History.

weightlifter and wrestler

raising baby, lifting baby

carrying child, curling child

rejecting family

wrestling with caste

adopting alternatives

biological transgressions

Perform Futures.

performing intersex

gender transcendence

imagining a non-binary world

animal’s view of humanity

not genitals’ view of role

embracing human and plant families

embodying wholeness

4. Feminist STEAM Intersections 

Strong Women.






intersectional steam

woven futures

queer connections

Sculpt Resistance.

trained but not disciplined

artistic but improperly framed


re-writing archives

crossing boundaries

ms. behaving

an order for disorder

Animate History.

carving wood

curating collaboration

designing animation

writing words

performing goddess

talking cosmologies

imagining pluriverse

Perform Futures.

embracing chaos

speaking out, sitting in

co-creating transdisciplinary futures

embracing dark matters

feral feminists

rematriating to dust