Girl, I’ll Cover You
From religious customs to non-spiritual trauma responses, rituals are how we heal and cultivate strength within ourselves and our communities. Using a dichotomy of cutting and building as acts of healing, cleansing, and power, Chanel Matsunami Govreau and Raeleen Kao combine their abilities in costume design and printmaking to create a performative print experience by completely covering themselves in paper armor.
Woodcut prints depicting sharp fragments of Gundam-esque robots and masses of hair, a historic symbol of female vanity, both protect and obscure the artists’ bodies as they arm one another. During this process of transformation they offer layers of protection and warmth to physically and metaphorically build each other up as women. Through this performance, they look to create a new ritual of mutual empowerment that counters the competition and jealousy of internalized sexism. Matsunami and Kao further collaborated with Detroit musicians and educators Clara Hardie (Detroit Youth Volume) and Cecelia Sharpe (Urban Stringz) for musical support.
Here is a short video exerpt: