AARON McMULLIN

artist and activist based in the greater St. Louis area

ARTIST STATEMENT
 

My art practice is a place of deep self-reflection where I examine the privileges I carry as a white cis-gendered woman. My artwork is part of my anti-racism practice, an outward expression of an inner dialogue with whiteness. It is a place where I explore and practice antidotes to white supremacy cultural characteristics, as defined by Tema Okun in her widely circulated and recently updated article “White Supremacy Culture - Still Here.”  Through photography, embroidery, and performance art, I urge viewers to join me in sitting with these complex subjects and imagining alternative ways of being. 

 

Using cotton, a material that all of us interact with daily, I explore the violent history of racism and colonialism and how the traces of these systemic atrocities remain present in our world. The universal use of cotton inarguably connects us all to uncomfortable truths of inequity and injustice, both past and present. Playing with traditional arts and objects associated with domesticity and femininity, I examine how white women have upheld white supremacy culture in the past. By revealing this legacy, my artwork highlights the necessary work for white women to imagine and embody a more just and compassionate alternative. Embroidery has been used to subvert patriarchal expectations of women. My embroidery work presses women to join me in engaging in truly intersectional feminism by examining the role whiteness plays in conjunction with our womanhood. 

 

My art exposes us to each other's humanity, asking viewers to reflect on their own identities and privileges and how they are connected to subjects in my work. It uncovers the past so that we can heal the present and, together, imagine a more equitable and joyous future.

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“Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry.”
Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy

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BIOGRAPHY
 

Aaron McMullin is a conceptually driven multimedia artist and activist working primarily in textiles and photography. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in 2009 and is currently a 2nd year MFA candidate in Textiles at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Over the last decade, Aaron has worked as a community arts organizer and educator. She has held the title of Teaching Artist, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Co-Facilitator for an anti-racist book club. In 2011, Aaron received a Fulbright-Nehru Research Grant and a Critical Language Enhancement Award to study cotton farming in India. While conducting research in India, she served as a contributing editor for the book, Invisible Hands: Human Rights and the Global Economy, later published in 2014. In 2015 Aaron received an Artist Support Grant from the Regional Arts Commission and returned to India to work with cotton farmers on a collaborative portrait series, Faceless Farmers. In 2020 she received a Competitive Graduate Award from SIUE. In both 2021 and 2022, her artwork won awards in photography and textiles at the annual juried student exhibition at SIUE. Aaron is dedicated to nurturing collaboration, creativity, compassion, and connection through the exploration of art and community. 

Education

2020 Art & Design MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

2019-2020 Teaching Artist Institute, Regional Arts Commission

2009 Sarah Lawrence College, BA

2007-2008 International Honors Program, Tanzania, India, New Zealand, Mexico

Press

Latest Exhibitions

2022 - opening April 29th, 6-9pm
Belonging: Cross River Art Exhibition 
TechArtista UCity in the Lewis Collaborative 
University City, MO

2022 - opening April 23rd, 6-8pm

Over Looked

Framations Art Gallery

Saint Charles, MO

2022

SIUE Juried Student Exhibition
Barbara Dyck Memorial Award recipient 

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Edwardsville, IL

2021

SIUE Juried Student Exhibition
Photo Club Award recipient

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Edwardsville, IL

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