“R-Evolution” on the National Mall: Nurturing the Heart
Art can illuminate the human condition and be a catalyst to social change.
R-Evolution is Deja Solis, a woman standing in her strength and power… expressing her humanity; how she feels when she is safe, when she can just be. R-Evolution is the third in a series of three monumental sculptures, The Bliss Project, by artist Marco Cochrane conceived of in collaboration with model Deja Solis, these sculptures are intended to demand a change in perspective… to be agents for social change. They are intended to challenge the viewer to see past the sexual charge that has developed around the female body, to the person: to de-objectify women and inspire people across the world to take action to end violence against women, create space for women’s voices and demand equal rights for all, thus allowing everyone to live fully and thrive.
Standing 45 feet tall, R-Evolution was first brought to Burning Man in 2015 by Marco, partner Julia Whitelaw, and the Bliss Crew, and with your help, we will install her in front of the Washington Monument, facing the White House.
Photo Credit: 2015 Galen Oakes Art
R-Evolution is permitted by the National Park Service for Catharsis on the Mall, November 9-12, 2017, coinciding with Veterans Day, and through March 2018. For four months, she will be the focal point of a continuing vigil in support of education and awareness about the Equal Rights Amendment and will be present on the anniversary of the Women’s March on January 21, 2018.
Catharsis on the Mall: Nurturing the Heart and Vigil for Equal Rights, November 10-12, 2017
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” —Audre Lorde
Catharsis on the Mall is an annual vigil for healing where artists, activists, D.C. community, and passers-by, join together to let go, hold space, share, sing, burn a Burning Man-inspired temple, and dance until sunrise. All are welcome to this free public event. In its inaugural year, Catharsis focused on healing from the drug war, and last year, Catharsis highlighted Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the immediate wake of the election. This year, Catharsis has chosen the art theme “Nurturing the Heart,” and along with its partners, including Equal Means Equal, invites volunteers to continue the vigil to raise awareness about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Register here to volunteer for a vigil shift (or two).
In bringing R-Evolution, Catharsis intends to inspire dialogue among women, and people, of all bodies, ages, races, religions, genders, abilities, and sexual orientations about the role of art and community in nurturing the heart and healing, and in turn making social change.
Catharsis 2015, Photo by Cherry Savvoy
Equal Rights Amendment: Unfinished Business
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a Constitutional amendment originally proposed in 1923, designed to guarantee equal rights to all Americans, regardless of sex, and end discriminatory legal distinctions. In 1972, the ERA was passed by both houses of Congress but fell three states short of the 38 necessary to ratify the Constitutional amendment. Thirty-five years later, this past March of 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify. Now the ERA is only two states short of the 38 needed for full Constitutional Equality. We will be holding a 24-hour vigil for four months to generate awareness and education about the Equal Rights Amendment. Read on to learn how you can be part of the vigil!
More About R-Evolution and The Bliss Project
“What I see missing in the world is an appreciation and respect for feminine energy and power that results when women are free and safe. It seems obvious to me that feminine energy is being suppressed and this must change. If we are to find lasting solutions to the problems facing humanity, men and women must be able to work together as equals.”
Like all of Marco’s collaborators, Deja chose her personal expression, her pose, for R-Evolution. R-Evolution is different than the first two sculptures in the series, Bliss Dance and Truth is Beauty. There is no overt action in her expression; she is not dancing in the face of danger, she is not reaching to meet herself and find her own truth. In R-Evolution, Deja explores and expresses what she feels like when she is safe, strong and powerful when she can just be… a whole person… a woman, radiating her energy into the world.
R-Evolution is made of steel rod and tubing, utilizing two layers of geodesic triangles covered by a stainless steel mesh with LED lighting effects.
Marco’s Inspiration: [Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault]
“The story of R-Evolution and The Bliss Project began when I was 7-years old and my best friend was a 9-year old little girl. One day I was told, in way too much detail for a little boy, that she had been raped right outside of my house. It was incomprehensible, horrible, I never forgot, I never understood… it still haunts me. I thought… that man couldn’t have realized my friend was a person… if he really could see her, this wouldn’t have happened.
I grew up in the Bay Area in the 60s and 70s, in the philosophical revolution and turbulence of those times. I learned to deeply appreciate feminineenergy, influence, and strength… and realized that the objectification of women imprisoned women and also men. I saw first-hand that one person, or a small group of people, can start a movement that can make a difference and change the course of history.
In my 20s I discovered sculpting, and in particular, the joy of seeing and sculpting the healing energy and power that I saw when women were not afraid…when they could be present, when they could be themselves, speak their minds… and the heroism it takes to do this in the face of real danger in their daily lives. For more than 25 years I have been sculpting women. At first glance, they appear to be classical figurative nudes, but they are not. They are radically modern… revolutionary. These women are safe, present. Look at them. They have chosen their own expression, so you will see the actual woman, the person, her energy, and spirit. It is my intent that these sculptures exude this healing energy and inspire us to take action; to finally say enough is enough!”
How Can You Help?
Catharsis on the Mall and The Bliss Project have collaborated on a plan, acquired the necessary cooperation of the National Parks Service, and started fundraising to bring R-Evolution to the National Mall from November 2017 through March 2018.
The total cost to transport, install, insure, and support the sculpture’s presence on the Mall is estimated to be $150,000 (budget). With the generosity of organizations including the Bronner Family, we have already raised a portion of the money. Now we need your help!
Art is a wonderful way to move humanity and reflect on issues we are dealing with as a society. To bring this vision to life we need financial help from people like you!
We are seeking to raise $90,000 from our national shared community of people who are inspired by this vision and want to see it spread in the heart of our nation and the world. We only have 30 days to raise this money to make sure this historical monument is placed on the National Mall on Veterans Day during the Catharsis on the Mall vigil and is allowed to stand all winter long through March 2018.
In addition, we have a stretch goal of another $20,000 to:
- Fund artist micro-grants, to increase access for POC, women, queer and non-binary artists, performers, speakers, activists, and organizers to bring their story and vision to Catharsis on the Mall. Particularly, we focus on building power in our local D.C. community and stronger relationships with our regional communities.
- Invest in long-term infrastructure to help Catharsis continue to grow in sustainable ways and continue to provide a transformative, nurturing, and healing space, on the Mall and throughout the year in our local community. This money will also go back into local community spaces, artists, and businesses as much as possible.
Additionally, for the entire four months, we will be holding a continued 24-hour vigil at the feet of R-Evolution. You can physically take part in this historic monument by signing up to be one of the vigil keepers! Our vigil camp will be artistically curated and you will always have a vigil buddy, and you can sign up for as many or as few shifts as you choose. As a credential of your service to R-Evolution, vigil volunteers will be gifted with an official Bliss Project “Together We Stand” bracelet.
We cannot do this without you. R-Evolution is only permitted to stay standing as long as we are there with her, 24 hours a day, so please consider signing up here: https://www.catharsisonthemall.com/r-evolution-vigil/
Catharsis 2016, Photo by Natalie Ginsberg
The Bottom Line
Art can illuminate the human condition and be a catalyst to social change. Our hope is to expand human consciousness and inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, create space for women’s voices, and demand equal rights for all, thus allowing both women and men to live fully and thrive. We are asking you to stand with us!
Thank you to everyone for the incredible support you have provided in the past, and to everyone who is considering supporting R-Evolution and Catharsis on the Mall. There is no way projects like this can happen without you!
Please Join Us in Making R-Evolution on the National Mall a Reality, Donate Now, Volunteer to be a Vigil Keeper, Spread the Word!
Catharsis 2016, Photo by Unknown
R-Evolution is a sponsored project of Flux Foundation, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to engaging people in designing and building large-scale public art as a catalyst for education. As such, contributions for the purposes of R-Evolution via Flux Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.