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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

BMU hosts interactive, insightful art gallery

A portrait of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate hearing regarding accusations of sexual assault. Acrylic ink printed on plexiglass. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

The third floor of The Bell Memorial Union is currently filled with collages and plexiglass prints focusing on women’s empowerment and conversations about American sexism. The “Resist, Persist & Rise” gallery by Kelli Marie S. Lavin and Christine M. Ponce has been hosted in the BMU since Jan. 22 and the artists held a reception on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

The overall theme of the gallery was women’s empowerment, as well as sexual assault awareness and support. Lavin’s portion included collages which highlighted significant female leaders such as Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo and Michelle Obama.

“I wanted to focus on different traits of women and celebrate (them),” Lavin said. “I make art for myself-my own joy. This is my first time doing an exhibit.”

A collage, entitled "Grace", depicting former First Lady Michelle Obama by Kellie Marie S. Lavin. Photo credit: Angel Ortega
Christine Ponce's artwork focused on female empowerment, sexual assault and gender inequality. Visitors can interact with her work by writing on the prints with dry-erase markers. Photo credit: Angel Ortega
Students and locals gather at the reception for "Resist, Persit & Rise," an art gallery by Kellie Marie S. Lavin and Christine M. Ponce. The art gallery is displayed on the third floor of the BMU until February 12. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

Lavin created the collection in January of 2018 as she reflected on the year that had passed and how the paradigm of feminism had shifted in that time. She used a women’s hairstyling book from 1946 as the base of her collages.

“I used pictures from this book about exterior beauty to create collages that celebrate internal traits instead.” Lavin wrote in her artist statement.

“As a historian, I also wanted to use this show as an opportunity to highlight the contributions of real women. In the description of each piece, I have included the name of a woman who embodies the relevant trait, along with a brief explanation.”

Ponce showed a collection of acrylic paint on plexiglass that both empowered women and exposed some of the sexism that many people may not realize is occurring. Her portion was interactive; she had red Sharpies for guests to write their thoughts along the border of her art.

“In the last three years, there have been some movements that have brought awareness to issues that have around for hundreds, thousands of years,” Ponce said, “but now we’re actually talking about it.”

Ponce elaborated on how it was important to her that a conversation was started with her art.

“The (interactive aspect) was the easiest way to have the audience participate in the conversation without actually ‘realizing’ they are participating.”

She spoke about how red Sharpie on her black and white print added to the art by contributing the real experiences of those her art was meant to impact. Her exhibit was spearheaded by a large print of Brett Kavanaugh amidst his Senate hearing regarding the allegations of his sexual misconduct.

The “Resist, Persist & Rise” gallery will be displayed in The BMU until Feb. 12. The hours for the gallery are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

Mitchell Kret and Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.

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About the Contributor
Angel Ortega, A&E Editor
Angel Ortega is a journalism-news major with a minor in cinema studies. Angel has been on the Orion for four years, serving as both a staff writer and arts & entertainment editor. He enjoys writing artist profiles and film reviews. When he’s not working for the Orion, you can find him at a concert or music festival.

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