“Sisters, too.” speaks to womanhood, motherhood, trauma, and purpose through a collaborative show of music, art, and poetry. Born from the works of two sisters, Mandy Blankenship and Jenny Ayers, the unique show was inspired by their individual experiences and the “Me Too” movement.
“Jenny and I have been making things for a very long time in different forms,” Blankenship says. “Mostly for me, it’s been visual and writing. Since Jenny was a very little girl, she has been singing.”
Not collaborating artistically since their childhood, Blankenship and Ayers decided now was the time to share their stories together. They will speak their truths in the language they know best — art.
“It’ll be a weaving together of our different stories through Jenny’s music, my poetry, and some quilted pieces I’m making, talking about what it means to be women, wives, mothers, our experiences of trauma,” Blankenship says.
Also, “Sisters, too.” explores the idea of art’s importance to their purposes. The name of the event refers to the Me Too movement of predominantly women who shared their histories of trauma and sexual harassment.
“Jenny’s events in her past absolutely have to do with that, and then I have my own history of trauma, which is typically medical,” Blankenship says. “We both have experiences of trauma, but they’re wildly different.”
The mutual support and empathy of shared experience from the Me Too movement proved to be the biggest inspiration for “Sisters, too.”
“I feel like it’s an important moment in time to come together and say, ‘I dealt with this, you dealt with that. I still love you, and I want to be with you in this moment,’” Blankenship says.
The goal of the show is to create conversation around empathy and support, especially among women.
“I do want to celebrate women, the different aspects and the different forms that we take through this family life, and to just celebrate the essence of who we are and what we’re capable of,” Ayers says.
Enriched with music and visual and spoken art, “Sisters, too.” ultimately seeks to offer hope and encouragement.
“What you’re doing matters. Who you are matters. Keep going, don’t stop,” Ayers says. “Your voice and your impact is profound and without you our world would be a place that’s less colorful.”
Blankenship is a wife and mother of two; she lives in Greenville. Ayers is a wife and mother of three; she lives in Texas.
Did you know?
Tarana Burke founded the Me Too movement in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence find healing. Beginning as a grassroots movement, Me Too soon became a viral hashtag and national movement. (source: www.metoomvmt.org)