Exclusive: Artist Mich Dulce Created An Installation Inspired By Her Egg Freezing Process
“Tick tock...Tick tock...” goes our biological clock.
Women in their 20s don’t have it easy. If we counted the number of times we were told to marry early because “it’s harder to find a partner once you hit 30," we wouldn’t be able to keep track with our fingers. Some women grew up with their mothers and aunts reminding them not to scare men away with their independence; most women feel pressured to settle down early because their biological clock won’t wait. Trust us when we say that women have heard it all.
Fortunately, the tide has turned, and more women have become empowered, refusing what society dictates they do with their own bodies.
Manila-based artist Mich Dulce is one of them.
The milliner, fashion designer, and Death by Tampon vocalist recently launched “At Least I Won’t Regret Anything," her second solo exhibit with Finale Art File at Makati.
The Metro.Style team got to snatch an exclusive interview with the artist at the opening night of her interactive installation. Scroll down for more.
Metro.Style: What is your inspiration behind, “At Least I Won’t Regret Anything?”
Mich Dulce: The art that I do is always triggered by an event or story that I need to share. I thought of doing this show towards the end of my egg freezing process. It was an intensely emotional experience, and I felt that it was going to make a really great statement on reproductive autonomy and its importance to women. Egg freezing is new and there is no guarantee that it will work. But I feel like we’re so fortunate to have science on our side; that we have the opportunity to even have the chance. This to me was an insurance policy. I wanted to make sure I did everything in my power to save my fertility. That is why the show is called, “At Least I Won’t Regret Anything."
MS: Different statements are beaded on baptismal dresses. Where did these quotes come from?
MD: The statements came from the journal entries I wrote while I was freezing my eggs. All my works are about my experiences in the context of society, so these are the quotes I chose because they represent that whole chaos. I purposely chose a mixture of statements—from very mababaw (shallow) ones to intense ones—to show the range of emotions that you can feel. The syringes attached to the dresses are the actual syringes I used. It’s super personal. And the reason why I made baptismal dresses is because I wanted everything to be about needles. I built a career out of it; looking back, even my adult life is based on needles. Something I really want is to have a child, and being able to have a child still involves needles.
MS: Is there a particular quote that stands out from the rest?
MD: The statement, “Is my independence emasculating you?” I battled with that a lot in my past relationships, and I always struggle with that expectation—that a woman should be something in the context of someone else. For me, that’s the biggest barrier to my freedom as a woman. We keep thinking about others before ourselves.
MS: Why are the dresses hung in a mobile?
MD: The idea was that it had to move; it had to have kinetic energy. How do we deal with our thoughts and emotions? There’s happy, there’s sad, and at the end of the day, we have to achieve a kind of balance between mind and body. We try to find a way to do all that.
MS: How long did it take you to put this up?
MD: Obviously, I wrote the diary entries while I was in the process of my egg freezing. But part of the process was that I wanted to do everything myself, whether it was stitching or beading. I really felt like I had to stab that needle. It was part of the process to do everything myself, which made it different from my last show.
MS: How would you describe your art style?
MD: I make work in the confessional style. It is art based on a person’s experience in the context of society. My first installation ["One Day I’ll Be Everything"] was about me and my mom, and how she raised me to be “the perfect wife”. This one ["At Least I Won’t Regret Anything"] is a commentary on: if this was just me, would I still be feeling this kind of pressure? A lot of these statements are actually external. It’s like people telling me what to do, when it’s supposed to be my decision.
MS: Will we be expecting more installations soon?
MD: I hope. I’ve always said that I’m not a painter. I like to build environments, and I want to build spaces. I’m doing a feminist art residency in Canada in May, so after that I have to work based on that residency. Art is not my profession, I do it only when I feel passionate to tell a story. It doesn’t work otherwise. My motivation is based on telling my stories and giving commentaries on them.
MS: Just last year, you founded a feminist group called Grrrl Gang. Can you tell us more about it?
MD: Grrrl Gang is a feminist collective that I founded with some of my friends. I really felt a need for a space for women to be able to talk about the things that are important to them, and for them to discover feminism in a way that is not intimidating. I have a belief that women aren’t really born woke. I mean, I lived in a bubble for such a long time, not knowing what was going on around me. I felt like we didn’t have space where we can make mistakes and learn more, and I wanted to be able to provide a space for girls to ask questions about feminism. Everyone can come here, even those who don’t know anything about feminism. Everyone is welcome here.
MS: What will people expect from this exhibit?
MD: If you are curious about this show and Grrrl Gang, I encourage you to drop by Finale on January 27. We are doing a Grrrl Meet, themed around reproductive autonomy—we’re inviting a gynecologist! If you’ve ever wanted to talk about your body, your fertility, or just talk about your options, please drop by. We are all individuals, and we all have a choice whether to have kids or not. If you want to empower yourself with knowledge, please join. Let’s talk about the rights you have when it comes to your own body.
"At Least I Won't Regret Anything" by Mich Dulce is open for viewing until January 29 at Finale Art File, Makati.