When Danyelle and Dionna Gray began working on a social media networking app for women, they recognized an energy at their events that was unlike anything either of them had experienced before. Wanting to tap into this positive energy, the sisters dove into the world of experiential exhibits and launched the Womanish Experience in Chicago this past September.
“We saw that there was this really great thing that happened in person and we wanted to figure out a way to do a huge event like that,” Dionna says.
Womanish is an “exploration of identity and perspectives that celebrate Womxn and all people” with installations filling five stories. In November 2019, the Grays put out a call for female-identifying artists and received a variety of submissions from artists around the world, from Hong Kong to New York to California. This art was then used to create immersive rooms and exhibitions for guests to explore.
The gallery aims to define the many “-ISHs” that have called female-identifying persons to feel misunderstood, celebrated, disconnected, liberated, proud or wrongly labeled. But, it is also dedicated to educating in a fun and interactive way.
“It’s definitely good vibes only,” says Dionna. “We tried to create a space that is empowering, but fun as well. There’s music in each room … it’s very beautiful and picturesque, but they all have a deeper meaning to them as well.”
Dionna’s favorite room that she recommends as a must-see to visitors is an installation called “Publish.” The exhibit consists of a wall that wraps throughout the entire building and can be seen from a staircase on every level. Pasted to the wall are numerous quotes from inspirational women that are intended to empower and inspire guests.
Each of the installations is perfectly #InstagramWorthy but also sparks a conversation about topics that affect women, Dionna says. Issues like the pink tax and the gender pay gap are represented through rooms full of bright colors and aesthetically pleasing artwork.
“I think that everything should be meaningful and purposeful,” Dionna says. “We really want [Womanish] to spark conversation, we want it to affect change, but still in a very fun and uplifting way.”
Womanish will be on display in Chicago through Nov. 8. Follow Womanish on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the next city it will pop up in!