Artwork in mediums of every kind covered the walls of Ohio University’s Baker Ballroom on Tuesday in an installation that sought to inspire, inform and influence the audience to broaden its perspective on women.
The International Women’s Day Art Installation used sketches, paintings, videos, collages and a plethora of other forms of art to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It also aims to raise awareness of everyday areas that are still reaching toward equality.
The installation was separated into categorized rooms, including body image, menstrual health, women and war, women against violence, #MeToo, race/ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ and protest. There was also a library with books about the different room topics and videos throughout the various exhibits to provide multimedia perspectives.
The installation, which was a work in progress throughout the academic year, was sponsored by the OU Women’s Center, the Office of Global Affairs, the International Student Union and many other gender-inclusive and global-oriented groups.
Courtney Archibald, a freshman studying studio art, created an exhibit displayed in the installation to showcase various struggles women face through everyday actions and highlight expectations versus the reality.
“I wanted to be vulnerable through my art, because this exhibit is closer to home than a lot of people think,” Archibald said. “This exhibit separates expectation from reality, and it breaks the barrier of topics that people don’t often acknowledge.”
Archibald’s exhibit came in five sets: period, underwear/lingerie, shaving, occupation and motherhood. She used real objects combined with paintings and writing to create a display of everyday struggles that women face.
Sunny Simms, a sophomore studying art history, was inspired by the powerful and informative nature of the installation.
“All of the pieces are so powerful,” Simms said. “It’s so interesting to me to see all of the different views through each of the pieces.”
Though the majority of the artwork was in a view-only format, some of the pieces in the installation were interactive, including creating protest posters and pinning objectifying remarks on a fake body. The biggest interactive piece, however, was the “Say Her Name” display by Domonique Cudjo. Its purpose was to raise awareness for black female victims of police brutality and anti-black violence in the U.S. Participants were invited to choose a name from the list of black women who were victims and say their name into a microphone, where it would be projected onto the beating heart shown on the screen, followed by the rest of the names swirling around the heart.
Loren Saunders, a freshman studying biological sciences, was proud of the installation and loved experiencing the different exhibits and their meanings.
“The installation is so insightful and enlightening for people of different ethnicities and races to be reminded that there are big things happening in the world, like prejudice, racism and sexism,” Saunders said. “It brings these issues to light and provides activism and awareness.”