Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Preserve Your Independence, Dissent

  • Miah Shull Olmsted
Keywords: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, art, piece

Author Biography

Miah Shull Olmsted

At this moment of chaotic transition in my life, from experienced woman to underdeveloped student preparing to emerge as empowered artist and elder activist, I have chosen to engage in the intimate challenges of growth while I walk forward on a very public pathway.

I wrestle with conceptual, spiritual, intellectual, physical and creative struggles as part of a communal student experience. Yet, the quantified pull and resistance of academic measurements of accomplishment and failure, both, tug at my sense of identity leaving me feeling quite shredded and disconnected from purpose and from others.

I walk through deeply mangled forests in my soul. The depression impacts the clarity of my vision, obscuring rational thought patterns. In the deep shadows, when I am bereft, alone, lost, I try to find my way by looking to the lights other women hold up along the path ahead of me. They provide both guidance and reassurance. In turn, I hold up the light within me to help guide the women walking just a few steps behind me. I work to hold a safe place for them to grow in communal ways just as others have labored for me.

When I look at someone like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I see the woman I deeply admire shining her light on the path ahead so brightly. When I look into her eyes, I see the version of myself I wish to become. This piece, while based on her likeness, is the idealized self-portrait I have created to explain what I value to illuminate the profound sense of responsibility to others we both share. This 85-year-old renaissance activist, mother, grandmother, devoted teacher and Jewish woman of deep faith has an integrity and quiet strength deeply encoded in the DNA of her bone marrow. I share the same imperative, the same guiding principle. In Hebrew it is called ?Tikkun Olam,? “to make the world a better place”. It is my own heartwood flowing inside me while I commune with others in the grove of matriarchal redwoods.

The methodology used in the creation of this screen print was part of a deep exploration of materials linked to meaning. Her judicial rulings impact issues deeply important in my life the largest part of my activist-based art practice. The colors used as a rainbow to honor her commitment to equity for all. The geometric patterns chosen to show the complexity of who she is and a reflection of the extraordinary memory she has for detail. Her mind is as sharp as the angles in these shapes, despite her advanced age. Years of dedication and sacrifice to become well educated are reflected in the DISSENT opinions she often writes. Women, powerful judges around the world are now able to provide compassion-based just action. They put laws in place to assure we move forward into a world with more respect and fair treatment.

There was a long period of deeply reflective intentionality in the creation of this piece. It was a time of meditation and prayer through the creation of art.