Women in the Federal Parliament
About the female figure Sandra by Sandra Schawalder on the occasion of the national art project SSWA 2021
By Dr. Daniela U. Ball Art Historian, Switzerland
In 2021, the Swiss Society of Woman Artists of the Visual Arts (SSWA) implemented the art project " Frauen im Bundeshaus" ("Women in the Federal Parliament") to mark the 50th anniversary of the enactment of women's suffrage. 67 female artists each created a statement on the presence of women in politics. The brief was to design a female figure with a ballot paper in her hand in the form of a silhouette, which, however, is to be understood as a mixture of sculpture and painting. For several weeks, 67 colourful female figures then stood under the dome of the Federal Parliament and distributed among the various rooms.
Sandra Schawalder’s figure is not a direct self-portrait of the artist; the silhouette, which expresses elegance, sensuality and femininity, is rather an expression of her sensitive and humorous personality. On the side of the profile view of this female figure cut from MDF boards the inscription reads: "The awakened feminine essence pulsating in the light." The swing of the dress is not the result of a dancing pas de deux of this figure of light, rather the lady in a dress with abstract floral decoration strides triumphantly and resolutely forward on elegant high heels with ankle bows. Confident of victory, she holds her ballot paper, which resembles a handbag to match the dress, high in the air. With ease and charm, she celebrates her new status as a male-equal citizen of this country. It’s not a militant women’s right activist who is depicted here, but a self-confident woman, radiating femininity and strength.
The artist has painted the wooden silhouette in her own technique of applying paint in layers, from which the delicate flowers in the bustier of the one-shouldered dress are scratched out in graffiti technique. In the lower part of the dress, stylised flowers, crafted with bold impasto brush strokes, express the lady’s energy. A few golden leaves add sparkling highlights to the dress.
In the anniversary year, the artist succeeds in creating a reflection of women who go in and out of the Federal Parliament in the 21st century. Not everything has been achieved yet, but in 2021, women are on the right track: They have accomplished a lot in the last 50 years; some tasks still need to be tackled and solved together with their male colleagues at the political level. “The persistent commitment with high heels (leads) to the (heard) political voice” - this is the motto phrased on Sandra Schawalder’s female figure, which the author took the liberty of adding two terms in brackets.
sandra art project catalogue sgbk bundeshaus bern I side 40 & 41 I 2021
sandra bundeshaus bern opening
mixed media I 200 x 80 cm I 2021
sandra studio I mixed media
200 x 80 cm I 2021
bundeshaus bern I opening I 2021
cover art project catalogue sgbk bundeshaus bern I 2021