February 15, 2024 - September 15, 2024
Donna Dodson: Match of the Matriarchs and other Amazonomachies is the first solo exhibition by a female artist hosted by the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF). The show, which centers on women’s stories, women’s lives, and their place in the history of chess, includes Dodson’s monumental, life-sized chess set Match of the Matriarchs, which contains 32-large scale wooden sculptures representing all-female representations of cephalopods battling cetaceans.
The exhibition also showcases eight additional “amazon” sculptures depicting historical, literary, and mythological female heroes including figures from Mulan and Black Panther; a minotaur; Tomyris, a queen of Turkey; references to an aunt; Cybele; and Lakshmibai, a queen of India.
Debuting in the exhibition is The Madwoman of Chess or Autonomous was a Woman, which was commissioned by the World Chess Hall of Fame and will be part of the museum’s permanent collection. This dynamic and powerful sculpture harkens back to the backlash received when there was a major change to the rules of chess— the queen transformed from a piece with limited movement to one that combined the powers of the bishop and the rook. Some called this new version of the ancient game “madwoman’s chess.”
Donna Dodson, a Boston-area sculptor has been carving images out of wood for nearly 20 years. Her sculptures explore feminine beauty and evoke humor and playfulness but also grace, power, and emotional strength. Her unique vision responds to the relationships of animals to the human spirit that have existed since ancient times. Her figures are almost always female and range in size from the intimate to the monumental.
The exhibition centers on women’s stories and women’s lives and the history of women in chess.
Supplementing the displays of Dodson’s artworkare marine-related chess sets from the permanent collection of the WCHOF and loans from the distinguished group Chess Collectors International, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary as an organization in 2024. Also included will be videos of underwater sea creatures and places to play chess while learning about variants of the game of chess that are related to marine life and Amazons.