“A lot of people like to ask me, ‘Ali, how on earth do you balance family and career?’ Men never get asked that question.”

Comedian, Ali Wong

Dutch metal sculptor and jewelry maker Ferdina Jansen’s Wombtomb is on permanent display in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. This Mexican-influenced piece is coffin-shaped and represents the highly sexualized revolution of the 1960s. It is a departure from previous metal works and jewelry forms, and speaks to the protests of the hippie era and her life spent raising two children with American-Japanese sculptor Shinkichi Tajiriin the 1950s. (Jansen, 1927-1969)

Artist Ferdina Jansen’s large, pop-art sculpture, Wombtomb

Today’s provocative WS Art Card provides a fitting introduction to this week’s featured comedian, Ali Wong. Wong is the first comic to perform on stage while pregnant. Like today’s featured artist, Ferdina Jansen, who called out the challenges of being a mommy and keeping her independence as an artist, Wong does the same in her book, Dear Girls.

It’s a rather strange idea to think of a woman’s reproductive gift as a negative thing – a coffin, in fact, in this provocative artwork by Dutch metal sculptor and jewelry maker Ferdina Jansen. It challenges the powerful belief I’ve long held, that women are blessed to be able to have children. But I understand how controversial and politicized a woman’s power over her body is in our modern world. Perhaps you could argue it’s always been this way?

Whatever you believe, Jansen’s piece, Wombtomb, is on permanent display in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. It was influenced by so many things: a trip she took to Mexico, working in the shadow of her husband who had more freedom to flourish as an artist, and the timeliness of the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Jansen’s work is coffin-shaped and represents a departure from previous metal works and jewelry forms, and speaks to the protests of the hippie era and her life spent raising two children with American-Japanese sculptor Shinkichi Tajiriin the 1950s. (Jansen, 1927-1969)

Rose McInerney

Author Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

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