“Untitled,”(Evelyn), Xenia Series, 2015.
Good morning. My name is Rita Koehler and I am one of those visual artists, writers who entrenches herself into a subject and then retreats—sometimes out of self-preservation or necessity, or because sometimes, like the magical Mary Poppins, I find the wind has changed directions. Always I remain faithful to the principles of why I make and examine art, or why I put down my tools in defiance of my own struggle to fit into a place or moment that is not of me.
One such temporary withdrawal began nine months ago when these unsettling times brought my spouse to the decision to run for US Congress. She is a self-proclaimed “Roosevelt Democrat in the 21st Century who believes Johnson’s War on Poverty is still worth fighting.” I can recite these words by heart having managed her congressional campaign for all these months. She did not win her primary, but together we pulled the idea of politician from “pay to play,” retiring politics as usual, to an awe-inspiring People’s Campaign of dignity and justice for all.
As I sit here now in my living room post primary amongst the plastic santas, silver garland and bright colored ornaments that still have yet to be boxed away from Christmas five months ago, I think of the project, “Xenia,” that I began in 2015. These women often moved fluidly and necessarily from engagement to retreat constantly examining their motivations and purpose. I look forward with great respect, and hopefully humility, to picking up my tools again and to continue telling the story of these vowed religious women who took on the patriarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in the 20th Century, and moved us joyfully and bravely into the 21st Century where the prophetic Sensus Fidelium is upheld by the Spirit of truth. Again, my name is @rita_koehler, and I’ll be taking over the CWIP feed for the week. I’m happy to be in conversation with you once again or maybe for the first time. Either way, I hope you’ll join me.
#ritakoehler #chicagowomeninphotography #Xenia #religiouswomen #sensusfidelium #hospitality #politics #portraiture #portraitphotography #anytoolwilldo #regionalism #grid @medium