From the cafés of Paris to the mountaintops of Samiland, a scholar’s life is foreverchanged through her friendships with the women artists of Surrealism.
In 1971, graduate student Gloria Orenstein received a call from Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington that sparked a lifelong journey into art, ecofeminism and shamanism. The short film, Gloria’s Call, uses art, animation and storytelling to celebrate this wild adventure from the cafes of Paris to the mountaintops of Samiland. The film is produced by artists Cheri Gaulke (director), Cheryl Bookout, Anne Gauldin, Sue Maberry and Christine Papalexis .
Gloria’s Call was born in October of 2016 during a presentation by renowned scholar Dr. Gloria Feman Orenstein at the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art (SCWCA) Surrealist Tea in celebration of their 40th Anniversary.
While my life has had its challenging moments and I have traversed many a dark woods in my quest for knowledge, I am fulfilled by the wondrous journeys I have made to the realms of the Marvelous, the Magical, the Great Goddess and the Shamanic Mysteries, and I will be forever grateful to the teachers who inspired me and to the feminist activists on whose strong shoulders we now stand as we welcome new generations of visionaries expanding our feminist legacy into the new millennium. -Gloria Feman Orenstein
Gloria F. Orenstein is Professor Emerita in Comparative Literature and Gender Studies from the University of Southern California. Her areas of research have ranged from Surrealism, contemporary feminist literature and the arts to Ecofeminism and Shamanism.
Her first book The Theater Of The Marvelous: Surrealism And The Contemporary Stage paved the way for her pioneering work on The Women of Surrealism. Leonora Carrington had been a friend and remained a major source of her inspiration in research and scholarship since 1971. Her book The Reflowering Of The Goddess offers a feminist analysis of the movement in the contemporary arts that reclaimed the Goddess as the symbol of a paradigm shift toward a more gynocentric mythos and ethos as women artists forged a link to the pre-patriarchal civilization of the ancient Goddess cultures, referencing them as their source of spiritual inspiration.
Orenstein is also co-editor of Reweaving The World: The Emergence Of Ecofeminism, a collection of essays that grew out of the conference she created at USC in 1987, Ecofeminist Perspectives: Culture, Nature, Theory. During the 80s she was invited by the Shaman of Samiland (Lapland, N. Norway) to be a student with her in Alta, Norway, an experience that continued intermittently for almost five years. She also created The Woman’s Salon in NYC that lasted for ten years beginning in 1975. More recently, her work in Surrealism, in particular, led to her inclusion of an essay in the book In Wonderland that accompanied the important exhibition of the same name that focused on the Women artists of Surrealism in the Americas, both those who were native to the Americas and those who migrated there during or after WWII. Orenstein was a pioneer in introducing the art of Frida Kahlo to North American feminists early in the 70s. Today, she continues her journey investigating the visionary worlds of revelation and the Marvelous, and will continue this pursuit in her research well into the future.