Artwork aims to empower women

Mirah Zukha, Staff Writer

Twenty-four pieces of artwork were displayed in the Renner Academic Library hallway gallery in Building C since Jan. 14 supporting One Billion Rising, a global movement to end rape, violence and oppression against women. The exhibit was linked to The Long Redline event, combating violence against women with this year’s theme of “Rise. Empower. Unite.”

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, which has gained international attention, women are refusing to be silenced. Because of the movement, national attention has been focused on the conversation about sexual violence and fighting against it.

The collection linked to The Long Redline focused on themes of violence against women. Through the diverse set of media and materials used that were unique to each piece, violence against women was explored graphically and metaphorically. The pieces range from thoughtful to startling.

Jamie Neely, sculptural and illustrative artist created “Unified,” a sculpture depicting the literal anatomy of women torn apart and stitched back together to create a collective woman, “ready to rise up and fight back against everything we’ve been taught to keep quiet about.”

“I wanted to create something that embodied the balance of femininity and power a woman possesses in a beautiful, delicate way,” Neely said.  ‘Unified’ is my way of further showcasing the raw power women are born with because even when betrayed and abused, we come together in love and support and our power intensifies.”

Throughout the duration of the exhibit, multiple students can be seen in the exhibit. Two observing sisters, Brianna McDonald and Shanna McDonald, who are both pursuing graphic design, believe the exhibits are powerful.

“Some people might find it to be too vulgar or graphic, some of these things can be grotesque, but so is what these women go through,” Brianna McDonald said. “If it makes you uncomfortable, it probably was a million times worse for the women that go through this.”

She admired that the exhibit touched on different aspects and perspectives of the #MeToo movement especially on the adamance of silencing women. McDonald’s sister also saw the value in these exhibits.

“More than half the time, women feel pressured that they have to be this way or can’t say anything. I find it ironic, that when [the artists] get up close and personal about these topics, people get uncomfortable, but they’re aiding in that reality where nothing is done to fix the issue,” said Shanna McDonald.

The event will continue until Feb. 28 with the official Long Red Line event proceeding Feb. 14. Individuals are encouraged to participate by wearing red for a demonstration of solidarity or by donating red scarves and similar pieces to ECC’s Student Life Office, Building B, Room B173.