Strength & Struggle

Exploration of how sport and endurance can be a transformational tool.

Exhibited from December 18th 2015 – February 7th 2016

Find power in the stories of boxers, Derby Girls, transgender performance artists and women skaters. These artists knit together body, mind, and spirit. They transform themselves through action. They fight social and familial expectations with strength. Bodies become a site for personal struggle and self-realization.

Dive into a series of photography and video installations about how sport and endurance redefine our bodies, challenge traditional gender norms, and flip societal standards. This exhibition presents artists using time based media depicting body-based videos, performances and installation that explore gender, racial and sexual empowerment through endurance, sport and physical action.


  • Santa Cruz Derby Girls, the first all-female, flat-track roller derby league in Santa Cruz, California. Explore images by Lauren Macadaeg, Purple Turtle Photography that share the energy and grit of this full-contact sport.
  • Tiffany Campbell, producer of Getting Nowhere Faster, the first-ever women skateboarding video made by the skateboarders themselves. This film features the shredding action of these young women set to a re-enactment of the tale of “The Skatepark Hauntings of Debbie Escalante.” The cast includes Amy Caron, Cara-Beth Burnside, Patiane Frietas, Kenna Gallagher Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, Lauren Mollica, Van Nguyen, Elizabeth Nitu, Jen O’Brian, Stefanie Thomas, Vanessa Torres, Alex White and Nugget.
  • Heather Cassils, transgender Canadian artist who denies gender binaries and enacts masculinity through physical performance and body-sculpting. Cassils developed Becoming an Image, photographs of a performance where they unleash an attack on a 2000-pound clay block.
  • Carina Moreno, Watsonville resident who began boxing when she was 17 years old. She is now a 5-time world champion. Carina teaches boxing to teens at the Watsonville gym she runs with her trainer, Rick Noble.
  • Jennifer Locke composes physically intense actions in relation to the camera and specific architecture in order to explore the unstable hierarchies between artist, model, camera, and audience. Working in video and installation-based performance, her actions focus on cycles of visibility, and draw from her experiences as a professional dominatrix, artists’ model, and champion submission wrestler.
  • Megan Morgan, performance and video artist who researches historic documents of slavery to find positions of punishment and torture that resemble contemporary yogic postures of opening and health.
  • Kate Gilmore, video artist who presents humorous yet troubling depictions of self-confinement and escape. The artist often puts herself in physically challenging situations from which she must escape.
  • Ileana Tejada assumes traditional heroic masculine postures in her large-scale drawings. This denies convention and popular beauty standards. She proudly reverses gender binaries and adopts a body that functions as she wants it to: swift, powerful, athletic and heroic.

In the News

Exhibit separates power from masculinity.

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