Milliner Mich Dulce is someone who always speaks her mind. When I heard about her latest show, I was curious as to what it would be about. The promotional poster left a lot to the imagination. A black and white photo of syringes and beads scattered on a piece of paper with the words “at least I won’t regret anything” written in the center. I was able to attend the opening night yesterday and was blown away by the installation.
The show will run until Jan. 29 at Finale Art File and to get a better understanding of it and how it came about, we were able to ask Mich a few questions.
What is your show about?
“So the show is called At least I won’t regret anything. Whenever I do a show, you know I’m not an artist by profession. As compared to professional artists who have shows regularly, for me if there’s something that triggers me to do something then that’s the only time I ask for a show. And I talk a lot about my work as confessionals because all of my work is personal. It comes from something that happens to me. So it’s always about me. This show is about my egg freezing process. When I was going through my egg freezing, it made me severely emotional and neurotic. I felt like I had to document that process and that feeling in some kind of work. It’s a statement of reproductive autonomy. That process really made me feel that it’s something that women really struggle with regardless of government or the society around us. For me, even during that whole process, I had a lot of conflicting thoughts about that process. I felt like it was such a burden for women considering it takes two people to make a child. So, it’s a statement on reproductive autonomy and that burden of fertility and childbearing.”
How is this different from your first solo art show?
“The first show was also about social norms. The consistent thing about my shows is they both are statements on social norms and the effect of the institution on the personal.
“For the first show, I built a house for one. So it was a commentary on the expectations of women in the home. Or the expectations on marriage.”
Are there certain emotions you want people to feel when they visit your show?
“I hope that the women who attend will understand it. For me, the show will be successful if women come in and say, ‘Alright, yeah. I totally get this feeling.’ They can relate to it emotionally and that struggle. If they are able to empathize with what they see and if they’re able to relate to it and acknowledge that struggle is a shared struggle.”
What was the most difficult part of putting this show together?
“Basically the show is made up of baby baptismal dresses. The hardest part is I hand-beaded all of the dresses myself. The baptismal dresses that each carry one of the syringes I used for my egg freezing process. The reason why [I used] dresses is because in my career and adult life, it’s always been about needles. There’s always a factor of a needle. For me to achieve everything I’ve achieved so far, it was always because of a needle. The next achievement that I want to have is to have a child. And it’s so ironic that that achievement also involves needles. So, I wanted the pieces in the show to be made by needles. It was extremely important to me that the things I make for this show are fabricated by needles and fabricated by myself. I chose to make baptismal dresses because, in a Catholic’s life, it’s the first important garment that a child will get. Whether you’re a boy or a girl, you wear this frilly dress. So all of the dresses are hand-beaded with a line from my journal during that period. The hardest thing was beading these dresses because it takes long. I wanted to commit to not hiring someone to do it. I really wanted to do it myself because it’s part of that process.”
As a woman, seeing the show struck a chord with me. Regardless of what it is, contraceptives or childbearing, women should be able to have control over their bodies. And without feeling burdened by other people opinions. Mich’s show was able to translate that message in the most beautiful and heartfelt way possible.