Dishing It Out

Voices for the Vote photography series

Sarah Amato and Monique McFarlane
Commission for the exhibition “
Voices for the Vote,” Borealis Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta

In the spring of 2016, Sarah Amato and Monique McFarlane photographed friends and strangers reenacting an event found in histories of the women’s suffrage movement in Alberta.

According to some accounts, activists from the Edmonton Equal Franchise League approached Premier Arthur Sifton on the steps of the Legislature in 1913. He allegedly asked, “Did you ladies wash up your luncheon dishes before you came down here to ask me for the vote? If you haven't, you’d better go home because you’re not going to get any votes from me!” 

By inviting people to wash dishes on the steps of the Legislature, Amato and McFarlane sought to subvert these attitudes. Participants brought along items that represent their goals, achievements, and connections to Alberta. The photographs celebrated people who cast their votes and political participation in all its forms. 

The photographs were also displayed at the “History of Women’s Political & Social Activism in the Canadian West Conference” at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. They are now on display at the JDIC Seniors' Centre, Edmonton, Alberta.


Photos in the series