It is a damning statistic how often women are harassed, attacked or raped in today’s world. The current exhibition at Lesley University, “1 in 3: Comparative Perspectives on Gender Violence,” delves into that statistic. It examines prejudices that condition cultures to overlook the subjugation of women. In 1969, in a NOVA Magazine interview, Yoko Ono said, “Women are the Niggers of the World.” Today, 40 years later, like gunpowder shot over the bow of misogyny, the shocking salvo still meets with an audible gasp. A human tragedy is that everybody knows a woman [or is that woman] that has experienced sexual violence or harassment. The exhibit rides the wave of the #MeToo movement, which has kept violence against women at the forefront of public attention through media.
The exhibition was organized by Lisa Fiore, Meenakshi Chhabra and Sonia Perez-Villanueva. “We share a determination and commitment to the overall Violence Against Women initiative that we created, which will continue and evolve over time,” Fiore recently said, describing the process of developing the show and the associated all-day Violence Against Women Conference that will take place on November 9 at the Lunder Art Center and University Hall.
There are eight artists in the exhibit: Catriona Baker, Siona Benjamin, Ambreen Butt, Juan Jose Barboza-Gubo & Andrew Mroczek, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Nona Faustine and Katherine Shozawa. Their work circulates a visual dialogue sourced from the cultures of both of earth’s hemispheres.
Installed in the Roberts Gallery at the Lunder Arts Center on Lesley’s Porter Square campus, the public will see some artworks from this show in large gallery windows facing Massachusetts Avenue and Roseland Street. Catriona Baker’s animated short, “Every Two Minutes,” is a conceptual redux of the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” that plays continuously looping on a monitor in a window that faces onto the busy Massachusetts Avenue.
This animation short’s 3D narrative was created with book art methods, including cut paper skills, to build 3-D form into story. Baker re-contextualizes the Brothers Grimm fairytale into a soft and luxuriantly paced animation that turns book pages into trees then a forest. The “Red Riding Hood”-like girl is also fashioned out of book pages. A wolf stalks then as the animated short progresses eventually swirls into a flurry of page snippets before turning into a man who follows the girl ominously into the woods. It is both a lyric and poignant animation short in which innocence floats into foreboding.
Seen from Roseland Street, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s Bollywood-inspired movie posters (computer manipulated photo-based collages) explore social acceptance in India of women willfully being hurt by men without remorse. Her work satirizes a stylized genre and radicalizes it into something new. The appropriated theatrical sensationalism communicates perils that Indian woman navigate daily. Lesley’s gallery windows offer interactivity for passersby and for this situation give a visual foretaste of the show inside, which is accessed from the building’s lobby at street level.