November 28, 2020

Students spark ‘Revulvalution’ with feminist art

The show featured an untitled work by assistant professor of women’s and gender studies Marla Jaksch, seen here. (Abby Hocking / Photo Assistant)

“That vulva looks really good!”

Intrigued? Those who visited the “Revulvalution” art show on Wednesday, Feb. 16, will understand the unusual nature of this comment.

The “exhibit to end violence against women” was sponsored by Women in Learning and Leadership and was held in support of the upcoming production of the “Vagina Monologues.” The art show featured pieces by students and faculty members, all of which had a decidedly feminist theme.

The vulva in question was made of hand-dyed fabric and a wire frame by senior fine arts major Ariel Capellupo. Capellupo was the artist behind a number of eyebrow-raising pieces on display, including a painting titled “Cunt” and the “Vulva Hat,” a white bucket hat with a pink vagina stitched on its top and slang words such as “twat” and “pussy” along the brim.

“I usually work with texts in my pieces. People use a lot of words and don’t know what they’re saying,” Capellupo

explained. “This is just a vulva. We’re not cum dumpsters. People feel so uncomfortable about it, but they shouldn’t. If people talked about it more, there would be less issues.”

Capellupo admitted that she found most of the featured vagina terms on Urban Dictionary.

Although some of the pieces were tongue-in-cheek, many were meant to be taken more seriously. A trio of paintings by junior art education major Danielle Sarnowski addressed the problem of countries providing women with Depo-Provera, a type of birth control that is injected into users once every three months.

Sarnowski’s paintings included a list of harmful side effects for Depo-Provera titled “Is This the Right to Choose?” and a piece called “X Marks the Spot,” which marked countries that frequently prescribe the birth control.

Besides paintings, the exhibit featured photographs, jewelry and even embroidered pillows. As guests wandered around, sipping sparkling cider and munching on strawberries and chocolate vaginas, they were serenaded by senior philosophy major Evan Greenberger and senior English secondary education major Dom Rivera, who formed a two-man band with an acoustic guitar.

Sarah Scholz, junior women’s and gender studies and journalism double major, described the artwork as “activist art.” She, along with other members of her Feminist Visual

From left, senior philosophy major Evan Greenberger and senior English secondary education major Dom Rivera strum their guitars as students view ‘Nothing to Hide,’ a trio of pieces by Elizabeth Krov featured in WILL’s ‘Revulvalution’ exhibit. (Abby Hocking / Photo Assistant)

Culture class and assistant professor of women’s and gender studies Marla Jaksch, installed all of the artwork.

The idea for the show, however, can be credited to Julie Anne Garretson, senior psychology and women’s and gender studies double major and one of the directors of the “Vagina Monologues.”

Scholz, who is also one of the directors of the “Monologues,” believes that the exhibit will have a positive impact on campus.

“It really raises awareness for people who might be afraid to come to the Monologues,” she explained, mentioning that some might be more comfortable seeing the message through art rather than through words. Scholz also contributed a piece entitled “Generations” to the exhibit.

Throughout the night, a silent auction was held for many of the pieces on display. Proceeds from the auction, T-shirt sales and donations were split among this year’s “Spotlight Campaign” for the Women and Girls of Haiti, C.A.R.E., an international organization that aims to fight poverty, and Manavi, a New Jersey-based organization that focuses on ending violence against South Eastern Asian women. Garretson estimated that the show made around $300 for these causes.

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