“The Dinner Party” celebrates women’s accomplishments through the ages

Sarah Holmes

Sounder News

Tuesday, November 21 2017

42 Women took on the personas of accomplished women from throughout the ages as Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” came to the Surf Lodge on Saturday, November 18.

Adrianne Marskell, in the persona of artist Judy Chicago hosted the event  - which invites women to dine in a triangle shape, where there are 39 place settings arranged along the table for 39 mythical and historical famous women.

Each plate, except the one corresponding to Sojourner Truth, depicts a brightly-colored, elaborately styled vulva form.

Astronomer Caroline Herschel (Patti Machell) shows her comet to character Trotula (Dominique Pattinier) during The Dinner Party held at the Surf Lodge on Saturday, November 18. Sarah Holmes photo

Each woman attending was assigned a historical role, going back to the Primordial Goddess through to Elizabeth Sackler. 

The women introduced themselves throughout dinner and provided a glimpse into their life, the age when they were alive, and what they were famously known for - not all of it pure and kind - and what they were up against during those times. 

Many acknowledged how they had been credited with the first, though they recognized that many women had come before them and their accomplishments went unrecognized. 

The evening provided unity and support recognizing historical women throughout the ages. 

Producer Adrianne Marskell has dreamed of hosting this event for two years and closed the positive evening saying, “There’s so much we’ve done. Feminism isn’t a dirty word.” 

A portion of the ticket sales went to support The Haven Society in Nanaimo, which provides emergency shelter and support for women and children in the greater Nanaimo area, including Gabriola. 

The original “Dinner Party” was produced as a collaborative work (over 400 artists were involved) and ran from 1974 to 1979. It toured around the world before being retired in 1996. 

Since 2007, it has been on permanent exhibition in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York.