Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Women of Armour

Women of Armour 3 (Work in Progress) by Ingrid Mida 2011
Sometimes inspiration comes when I least expect it. While doing research into Victorian equestrienne dress this past winter, I came across images of women playing hockey, mountaineering and playing tennis all while attired in cumbersome long skirts, sometimes even with crinolines. I admired the spirit of these courageous women who forged ahead with sport, finding pleasure in movement and play.  I began to contemplate the modern incarnation of such pioneers - young women who play hockey.

With full hockey equipment on, sometimes it is hard to tell that there is a girl or woman underneath and a  glimpse of a ponytail might be the only clue. After chatting with two young women who just happen to be talented hockey goalies, I was astonished by how much these girls love the game. Girls and women don't play hockey with dreams of a professional career. They play hockey for the sense of accomplishment they get from being on a team and for the adrenaline rush of the game. Their femininity is not in question here. They can be girls and hockey players!

I wanted to celebrate the spirit of the young women and girls who play hockey and am working on an art installation for my next show at Loop Gallery (May 2012). In the photo above, you can see an early work in progress from this series Women of Armour. (If you look closely, you can just barely see where the light catches the rows of sequins that I've begun to sew onto the pads, making it into an object of exquisite beauty and femininity.) The hockey padding has become the dress bodice and a mesh crinoline serves as the skirt, demonstrating how far we have come along the road to embracing our power as women.

In the exhibition, I also hope to include a series of photographs of young women hockey players, capturing the beauty of these powerful and gifted athletes. But first I need to find some! If you know any Toronto-based women hockey players who would allow me to photograph them or any women hockey players (from anywhere in the world) who would tell me more about their passion for the game, please forward this post to them along with my email

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