Rioting As A Spiritual Practice by Daniella Maney

I am a homegrown artist. I studied Africana Studies and Psychology at Connecticut College. The only class which I withdrew from in my entire college career was Drawing Fundamentals because I found institutionalized art really boring and draining. I love being an informal artist/creator/whatever because I am allowed to choose what I want to do and when. I am not particularly guided by any philosophy or instruction, I just make whatever pops into my mind.

A lot of times I end up drawing aspects of my identity or interests that I have been ashamed of in the past, like loving women/never growing out of my love for cartoons and anime, as a tribute to the real me. I would never claim to be ‘good’ at art but my purpose is not to be perfect. I create things to heal myself. The intense focus necessary to the process alleviates my anxiety in a way that nothing else can. Often I don't keep what I make because I love to make things for other people. Putting hours of work into something (even if it comes out shitty) can really make someone feel loved and that's the effect I would like to have on the people in my life.

In my Sophomore year of college I was approached by some friends who were creating a multimedia capstone project in celebration of the Riot Grrrls movement. They asked me to interpret the movement in the form of some drawings to add to a zine which was handed out to the audience during the performance. I have never had my drawings featured in anything really so I was extremely honored just to be thought of. As I learned about the Riot Grrrls I found myself really resonating with their beliefs and approach to self expression.

The first drawing I created was a drawing of a woman’s body with the words “Riot For Your Soul” tattooed on her stomach and the lyrics to Double Dare Ya by Bikini Kill in the background. I love tattoos and I strongly believe in the personal being political, to me it feels very punk to think of rioting as a spiritual practice as well as political.

The second drawing is a play on a cigarette box/warning, I tried to draw images that converged my ideas of femininity and punk aesthetic. I co-opted the classic Surgeon General’s Warning of ‘smoking kills’ to instead warn against being silenced. Above the warning there is a phrase in Spanish which says “neither women nor the land are territories of conquest,” below there is a phrase in Croatian which says “my body my choice.”

You can follow and support Daniella's work on Instagram (@maruchan_mami)!


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