Preview: Women Hold Up Half the Sky

Art contains the emotions of its creators and in the art exhibit “Women Hold Up Half the Sky”, it’s to depict and draw awareness of the issues women face in the 21st century.  

The art gallery opens its adaptation of the “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” exhibit Nov. 1 through Dec. 18 at the Pierce College Art Gallery in room 3301.

The exhibit was inspired by “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The exhibit originally premiered at the Skirball Cultural Center in October 2011.

“The diversity committee decided that the population they wanted to focus programming for this year was women,” Gallery Director Monika Wee said.  “So then we looked at what are the issues that we face today as women. We kind of took a broad stance. We cast the net wide.”

Topics such as education, sex trafficking and gender-based violence will be explored through the featured art pieces. The hope being that the exhibit can inform students on issues they may have never been exposed to.

“Some people are born to be advocates for certain things. Sometimes just making them more aware of the things that are going on outside of their comfort zone or outside of what they see every day, [make them] moved to action, moved to say ‘I know a way I can help,’” said outreach librarian Lisa Valdez.

This has been a collaboration between the library, the diversity committee, the equity committee, and the Pierce College Art Gallery, according to Wee.

The art gallery exhibit is a tie-in with the One Book One Campus (OBOC) program which is currently focused on the book “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai. The book is a first-hand account of the many injustices inflicted on Pakistani women by the Taliban. Similar themes are explored in the book and art show.

A collaborative art piece will also be featured in the exhibit. Students can write a “Wish for a Woman,” a message to any woman who may be struggling with any of the issues examined in the show. The messages will be added to the sky canopy that hangs above the gallery floor.

“It’s different. It depends on the person and their experiences because this is something that may happen to anybody,” gallery assistant Zahreh Ganji said.

The exhibit reception will be held Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. and will have music accompaniment by a saxophone quartet and a student performance piece, “Living Statues.”

“This is not a show just for women. This isn’t a show that’s just about women, but it’s about how we can come together as a community to address the issues,” Wee said.