SAB Series: Off the Beaten Path

Authored by: WAG Staff on April 21, 2014

Icelandic Love Corporation, Woman, 2005. Commissioned by curator Randy Rosenberg, for the exhibition Off the Beaten Path.

Throughout the world, women and girls are the victims of countless types of violence. The range of this violence is heartbreaking, and sadly, it follows them from their conception, to their birth, and to their death. It does not matter to which culture they belong, their ethnicity, their social class...it pervades every aspect of their lives.

These acts of violence are the main focus of Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art. It uses multimedia and art to promote awareness of what is going on in our ''oh so advanced'' society.

When I first visited the Off the Beaten Path, I did not know what to do with myself. I had always been aware of the terrible things that are done to women, but seeing it through the many talented artists' work struck me more than anything else. It was so much more personal and intimate. I was as fascinated as I was appalled by the scope of brutality towards woman in the world.  I actually feel guilty for finding beauty in such a dark subject, but it truly was an enlightening experience.

Although the entire gallery was wonderful, there were two works that stood out to me.

The first was an installation by the Icelandic Love Corporation. It consisted of a tent shaped as a skirt with a female silhouette perched on top. The silhouette was reaching out and it seemed as though she was happy... free. From what I understood, it was the representation of a woman who had recently found her way out of an abusive relationship. As I got closer however, I noticed the inside of the tent. There was the same woman's silhouette, but turned upside down and laced in a straight jacket. This really hit me. Although the woman was physically free of the abuse, it still haunted her. It  haunted me as well.

I didn't notice this next artwork until we visited with the WAG Student Art Board.The artist's name is Myung-Jin Kim and the work is called Invisible inVisible... an ideal title. You may not notice the work at first, because it is literally invisible from certain angles, but as you move around it and finally catch what is there, the beauty of the work, and it's irony, are mesmerizing. Within the beautiful swirls and vines are written proverbs from Confucianism undermining women. The manner in which the artist uses white on white is subtle and intriguing. It represents the way in which women's voices are being erased in many cultures. It made me realize that as terrible as it sounds, women really are almost ghosts in certain parts of the world.

I really hope this exhibit will not only create awareness, but inspire action. My generation is inheriting this world, and I don't want us to spend our lives 'hoping for change. I want us to contribute and be the reason things change. Exposure to art  like this is exactly what we need to start getting the message out there.

Sarah Lamontagne

Sarah is delighted to be part of the WAG Student Art Board. She loves to travel, meet new people and learn about their culture and traditions. She also has a keen interest in the arts and loves to visit local galleries!

This post is part of our ongoing WAG Student Art Board blog series. The Student Art Board (SAB) is a select group of high school students that are involved with the WAG. This blog series is intended to offer a teenager's perspective on the art currently on display at the WAG.

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