Caged bird showcases women and perseverance


Jackson Volenec — Reporter

Buley Library is hosting an open art exhibit, “When Caged Bird Sings,” that showcases the stories of multiple women who have undergone traumatic experiences but still persevered.

“When Caged Birds Sing is an exhibition that sheds light on human rights violations affecting women around the world,” said Sabrina St. Juste, a VPAS graduate intern. “It honors the lives of eight women who have experienced gender violence and then had the resiliency to work on behalf of women still at risk.” The showcase consists of multiple sculptures and props that are compiled together to tell each of the women’s stories, coupled with some text that provides further information and context to each person. There are also video clips that showcase interviews with some of the women who have experienced the violations of human rights previously mentioned.

This exhibit, created by Ann Weiner, has been featured in multiple schools prior to its feature at Southern. It is coming to different campuses in hopes of raising awareness in a compelling and visual way.

“I think it fits in with social justice month, and hopefully it brings people awareness so people can be aware of what people are still going through in some parts of the world, and even this own country,” said Cort Sierpinski, the director of the Buley Gallery.

The exhibit, which opened in October, will be open for all students and staff members until Dec. 12. With November being social justice month at Southern, this exhibit is one of the main features of the movement this year on campus. This is one of several different art exhibits that strives to address real world issues that affect different groups of people.

“I have not heard any negative feedback, most people I’ve heard from have said they enjoyed it,” said Sierpinski.

Some features of the exhibit showcase the stories of specific women who have undergone traumatic experiences due to abuse, whether that be not getting proper education, child marriage or even genital mutilation. These disturbing stories, combined with moving visuals, have resulted in positive feedback from the audience.

“This one is especially powerful,” said media studies major Kyle Aldrich, a senior, pointing to an exhibit showcasing the story of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani woman who was targeted by terrorists for promoting equal education across genders. “I really like how you can see her story through multiple mediums.

The overall reception of the exhibit has been positive among the Southern community, from students to staff. People point out the potency of the images that are presented.

“You just look at it and it strikes you right away,” said public health major Khue Hoang, a senior. “It’s a very powerful experience.”

“I personally have found all the pieces in the art exhibit to be very powerful. Each piece tells a very important story,” St. Juste said. “My hope is that Southern students take the time to experience the exhibit for themselves and learn the information.”

Photo credit: Izzy Manzo

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