At our 2016 Conference, the ASWM Board of Directorspresented Dr. Elinor Gadon with the Demeter Award for Leadership in Women’s Spirituality.* The award recognizes Dr. Gadon’s lifetime contribution to understanding the cultural and visual history of religion and myth.
With this Award, we honor and cherish her long career of feminist scholarship, education, and inspiration for generations of women artists. As an art historian specializing in Indian art and beyond. Dr. Gadon has analyzed myth and visual imagery in their cultural context and has provided an informed transmission of images related to the sacred feminine and women’s experience.
Her 1989 book, The Once and Future Goddess: A Symbol for Our Time, is a visual chronicle of the history of the sacred female and her re-emergence in the cultural mythology of our time. This work introduced scholars, feminists, artists and interested women to the astounding array of images of the female divine, culled through rigorous research from cultures across history, up to and including the work of contemporary women artists. This ground-breaking beginning was followed by numerous articles and lectures across the globe about art, gender, and the goddess, especially in India.
The award honors her widespread teaching and lectures at universities and conferences across the globe. Through scholarly publications, lectures, and curation, Dr. Gadon has contributed her expertise on religion and gender to wider international audiences. Her leadership also includes training the next generation; she founded the first graduate program on Women’s Spirituality.
*In a break with tradition, this year’s award was also awarded to Dr.Gadon’s good friend Dr. Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum..