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JOURNAL beyond borders




Contemporary Arts Forum

Santa Barbara, California
November 4 – December 23, 1995

Nancy Doll, Director of the Contemporary Arts Forum
Rita Ferri, Assistant Director
Lorraine Serena, WBB Founder, Coordinator
Elena Siff, WBB Curator, Coordinator


I am prouder than ever before for being a woman. I could feel the women whispering, like clocks ticking, like all these wild, intentional undone heartbeats. I will tell everyone.

– Valentina Grup-Kruip, Poet





Lorraine Serena and Nancy Doll
Lorraine Serena and Nancy Doll


Women Beyond Borders is a timely endeavor as it brings together women’s visions from around the globe, at the end of a century marked by their struggles for rights and freedoms. It is also particularly important in that it cuts across all borders – physical, political, religious, and racial. The project is a celebration of women’s progress and movement forward as they connect with one another on a global level. The exhibition surpasses all of our expectations, high as they were! I am quite sure that the exhibition will be received enthusiastically everywhere it goes. It is sure to be one of our most popular exhibitions. It is also one of our most meaningful exhibitions. Through the collective efforts of WBB artists and curators, a beautifully simple idea has been transformed into a profound project that extends literally and symbolically far beyond physical and conceptual borders.

– Nancy Doll, former Director Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, 1995


Lorraine Serena and Elena Siff

There is no hierarchy in this exhibition. We are all creating a piece from the same inexpensive pine box and there is a real sense of us supporting one another. We are women artists of all ages, from all economic backgrounds and with varying degrees of professional reputation in the “art world.” As this project has grown and the dialogue with other international artists has increased, through the fax and Internet, it is apparent that there is a vital stream which is flowing among us as the exhibition begins its epic voyage. Whatever happens on the way is the essence of Women Beyond Borders.

 – Elena Siff, WBB Artist


Rita Ferri, Assistant Director, Lorraine, guest, and Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, WBB artist

The Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (now the Museum of Contemporary Art) was the site of the premiere exhibition on November 4th, 1995. In the exhibition were 185 boxes from Argentina, Australia, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Austria, Spain, Sweden, USA and Vietnam.


Some boxes brimmed with hope, others were burdened with oppression. At times humorous, and often conceptual, the objects express universal thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams of women around our world. All together, this exhibition was an impressive anthology of various life-stories along with powerful statements. A record number of people attended and responded to the expressive power of each work, as well as the collective pulse of the exhibition.


Lorraine Serena, WBB Founder, Be Ky Nguyen, WBB Artist, Suzie Vuong, WBB Artist, and Darlene Nguyen-Ely, WBB Artist


The original boxes served as a grassroots foundation of Women Beyond Borders, which then began its travels to virtually every continent. By word of mouth, exhibitions were scheduled by museums and galleries around the world.


Pilar Flores and her boyfriend traveled all the way from Ecuador to visit the exhibit.


Women representing various participating countries attended the opening. Meeting them was the highlight of the evening. Artists Lizet Benrey-Fuller and her mother Shirley Chernitsky traveled from Mexico City to attend. Ingeborg Pock and Eva Ursprung made the trip from Graz, Austria, Annica Karlsson-Rixon and Paulina Wallenberg Olsson represented Sweden at the event. Darlene Nguyen-Ely, Suzie Vuong, Be Ky Nguyen and her son represented Vietnam.


Hutchins Alice - Another Plaything, 1995, USA
Alice Hutchins – Another Plaything, 1995, USA


Women Beyond Borders is an exciting, ground breaking project. It’s untraditional, open ended, indeterminate and inclusive quality recalls some of the liberating works of the 60’s.

– Alice Hutchins, Fluxus and intermedia artist, 1995


The most far-reaching exhibition of the year was Women Beyond Borders, a reaffirmation that good things come in small packages. Small wooden boxes which were sent to women around the world came back as works of art, filled with meanings from politics to motherhood to feminism to pure art.

– Joan Crowder, Santa Barbara News Press, 1995


This exhibition has been created in a female way. What has been accomplished is a real model of how the feminine process works. One doesn’t have to bulldoze people over in process of moving forward. You can be nurturing, flexible, open, caring, non-judgmental  — all of those wonderful female attributes which are very powerful in a universal way. This would never been done without  give-and-take, without collaboration.

– Beverly Decker, WBB Artist, Teacher


Southern California artists Lorraine Serena and Elena Siff thought that women’s creativity had been boxed up for too long. So they devised a plan to exhibit women’s artwork internationally and blew the lid off the notion of art as a solitary experience 

– Melissa Minkin, Writer


Lorraine Serena is a Woman of the World. She has been a forerunner of building international community as her artform. She has a passion for bringing diverse women together and assisting them to see their commonalities.

– Gail Berkus, Art Patron


You did a great service to the whole world. – Mercedes Eichholz, Art Patron

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