The University of Wisconsin Multicultural Student Center kicked off Women’s History Month with an art showcase open house March 6.
Throughout the evening, guests filtered into the Class of 1973 art gallery. Vibrant artwork hung around the room, empowering music by a variety of talented women played over the speakers, and a charcuterie board in celebration of women’s history and cultural identity greeted visitors to the art gallery in the Red Gym.
Students submitted art and writing and performed song, dance and poetry. Many students submitted pieces inspired by the feminine experience, women that have inspired them, and their heritage.
The pieces were accompanied by a title, the artist and the meaning behind the work. Some pieces had no title and no description, which let the art speak for itself and made it open to interpretation. Many works were given lengthy descriptions, and some were accompanied by poems describing the meaning of the work.
An artist with the birth sign Taurus created one piece of artwork — she depicted the silhouette of a woman filled with images of trees, a bull and colorful rocks to show the “earthy, feminine side of the Taurus sign,” as written in her art’s description, while “also being a general ode to women in all of our strength.”
Another student symbolized her Mexican heritage by painting a stunning display of a garden of dahlias, yucca, prickly pear cactus, frangipani and other Mexican plants and flowers.
Another piece displayed cultural heritage by displaying leaves blowing in the wind from a tree. Accompanying this piece was a metaphorical description of how the leaves represent a Palestinian immigrant trying to find acceptance in a new community while being displaced, struggling to fit in and attempting to remain connected to their identity.
An encouraging painting displayed a collage-like collection of words of affirmation within colorful shapes and patterns. This piece was described as being an homage to self-worth and self-care. Some phrases within this piece were “You are so amazing,” “Beauty is within,” “I am grateful,” and “Smile inwards and say ‘I love you.’”
In another piece, a quartet of drawn playing cards adorned the wall, each one a “queen,” with its own woman representing the uniqueness and strength of every woman.
Artists honored inspirational women in their lives with work inspired by their grandmothers and mothers. One student painted delicate, pastel wildflowers, inspired by her grandmother’s love for them. Another student portrayed a portrait for her mother’s birthday.
These works of art helped to portray an intersectional appreciation for women, cultural identity, creativity and self-realization. The Multicultural Student Center at UW has worked to create an environment that fosters acceptance of each student’s identity.
Some more events hosted by the Multicultural Student Center during Women’s History Month include the EPS Conference for Social Justice and Education March 10 and the Higher Education and Civil Society Collaboration for the Technological Advancement of Girls and Women March 13.