from the Oxford English Dictionary:
1. That tends or is intended to subvert a system, institution, or person; that seeks subversion; (now esp.) that seeks to destabilize or overthrow a political regime, esp. by covert means.
2. Originally Art and Literary Criticism. That challenges and undermines a conventional idea, form, genre, etc., esp. by using or presenting it in a new or unorthodox way.
From my art notebook in fall 2022, as I thought about the state of nursing today:
Interchangeable, replaceable. Plan and act as if the supply is endless.
Pay for the bed. The nurse is free.
MDs burn out and write best selling memoirs. Nurses burn out and leave.
Invisible/visible. Silence to voice.
Parallels between Hurricane Katrina and COVID–Nursing is the Lower 9th Ward.
Waves…1st, 2nd, 3rd of feminism. 1st, 2nd, 3rd of disasters…Man-made Natural Disasters
Themes are working their way into my art work now. Intersectionality, for sure. More and more, too, I am noticing how pleasant it is to be subversive. The Subversive Stitch by Rozsika Parker and Fray by Julia Bryan-Wilson are in my hands at some point every day. I identify with the artists they share with readers. They have helped me think about the changes that are necessary and possible in nurses’ work, with a little subversive action, a little good trouble.
I meet with my advisor frequently. He helped me place frames around the images that have been free-floating for decades. He uses dialogue to hold me accountable for putting my fledgling vision into words. As people look at my work I want them to witness the anger and despair I feel about the state of healthcare as it exists today. I want them to appreciate the fear and guilt I experience when students ask me for advice about their future workplaces.
Begone angel, heart, and saint iconography. Be gone. I’m not doing this work so viewers can empathize. I’m doing it to make good trouble with the tools I have: subversive stitches.