Critically acclaimed actor, writer and artist Liane Balaban (Meditation Park, Lullaby) is selling limited-edition art prints to raise funds for Toronto-based charity The Period Purse, and proceeds will be matched in donated products by sustainable Canadian menstrual care company Joni.
Fighting period stigma and shame is nothing new for Liane. Back in 2011, we interviewed her about Crankytown, a website she helped create with fellow actors and friends, Vanessa Matsui and Jenna Wright, as a safe space for young menstruators to talk about their periods. That project evolved into Crankyfest, a film festival dedicated to stories about periods.
Reflecting on the years, Liane has noticed some improvement, but not enough. “There’s been a major shift, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” she says, listing off dismal statistics posted on The Period Purse’s site. “83% of Canadian young menstruators experience period shame and 1 out of 3 Canadians under the age of 25 experience period poverty, meaning they either struggle to afford menstrual products or can’t access them at all.”
Period poverty is a major concern for Joni too—the company is on a mission to drive period equity forward in Canada and created Canada’s first period care one-for-one model to provide everybody who needs period care with safe, innovative, and accessible options (including free shipping anywhere in Canada). For $9.99, you can purchase a Karma Donation Pack that includes 30 pads that Joni will donate to a menstruator in need.
Liane’s fundraising initiative kicks off on Women’s Equality Day (Aug 26), and her art prints will be on sale for the one week following. “Period inequity is one of the fundamental inequalities that women and people who menstruate face around the world. 51% of the world menstruates,” exclaims Liane. “Why is it such an under discussed and under addressed issue?! Not having access to adequate menstrual products compromises a person’s health, well-being and productivity.”
For Liane, partnering with both Joni and The Period Purse made a lot of sense. “My friend Linda Biggs is one of the co-founders of Joni, and she suggested Period Purse. I looked them up and they seemed really aligned with my own personal cause to destigmatize menstruation through outreach and education, and to provide marginalized menstruators with period products. It felt like the right time and the right place, and the right cause.”
Although Liane is best known for her acting, painting has always been an important outlet for her, and a process she finds meditative and therapeutic, or as she says, “I’m just in a zone of joy and creation.” As a mother who has been juggling work and full-time parenting during the pandemic, it hasn’t been easy to keep a regular practice, but returning to it has been a gift, “For me, it’s like meditation. The more I can be in a flow state, the more the self critical ideas of what I ‘should be’ lose their power.”
Selling her art prints to support The Period Purse fulfills Liane in many ways: It forced her to make time for her painting, allowed her to share her art a different way, while also supporting a cause close to her heart. “I think acting has made me obsessed with the idea of performative identity. I know there are rules about the way that I’m supposed to look when I’m auditioning for roles or playing parts. Maybe painting is a form of rebellion, where I get to be in control of the character. I can make her as feminine or unconventional as I want.”
We love a rebellious act that brings pleasure and gives back.
Liane Balaban’s limited edition art prints can be found here, and will be on sale until Sept 2nd.