Women are called upon to raise their voices loudly, to tell their stories with pride, and to shape their own narratives in order to overcome oppression. Through this act of self-determination, we can strengthen our power and influence in society.” – Bell Hooks
The concept of “PROTAGONISTIN” by Catrine Val is an inspiring example of the connection between art and feminism. For the first time in years, Val engages with the inner workings and highlights the diversity of her hometown, the city of Kassel. She places women as an integral part of our contemporary urban society at the forefront. Val seeks out protagonists from different professions and countries of origin who consider Kassel their home and want to share their stories.In this work, we witness efforts to explore, question, and redefine the role of women in society. Through professional staging, women are portrayed in a setting where they feel seen and can discover their strengths and desires. Each protagonist is encouraged to present themselves within a humanistic worldview: Who am I? How do I want to live in this world? A feminine transformation takes place, which is celebrated and newly experienced. This act of self-determination and self-presentation empowers women to explore their own identity and reflect on the kind of world they desire.
Val’s starting point is the inspiring quote by American philosopher Bell Hooks, which calls for women to raise their voices loudly, tell their stories with pride, and shape their narratives to overcome oppression. By raising their voices and expressing their individual experiences, dreams, and visions, women can strengthen their power and influence in society. This act of self-determination is central to feminist activism, which demands solidarity and collective change.
Val’s artistic work encourages us to reflect on the power of art and culture in promoting feminism, a topic that Bell Hooks has also extensively explored. It reminds us that the freedom of art and the visibility of women are inseparably connected. Through creative forms of expression, we can break taboos and provide food for thought, fostering a broader understanding of equality and diversity. This artistic concept emphasizes the importance of feminist activism, self-determination, solidarity, and the role of art as a tool for social change.
By drawing inspiration from Bell Hooks’ ideas and integrating them into the “PROTAGONISTIN” concept, Val creates a space where art, feminism, and social change intersect. It is a provocative testament to the fact that the greatest threat to the status quo is a free-thinking woman who raises her voice and refuses to fit into society’s preconceived molds. Through this concept, we are called upon to create a more just and inclusive society where women, as protagonists, can tell their unique stories and claim their place. “PROTAGONISTIN” aims to be a cultural model that harnesses multicultural resources and focuses on the significance of art in social practice.
“Women are called upon to raise their voices loudly, tell their stories with pride, and shape their narratives to overcome oppression. Through this act of self-determination, we can strengthen our power and influence in society.” – Bell Hooks