Inspired by a desire to spread awareness of social justice issues and to provide a platform for the display of students’ artistic talents, Rebecca Mironko ’19 organized “Art and Activism,” a multimedia show that took place in the upper gallery from November 6 to 17.
Composed of 15 pieces ranging from clay sculptures and posters to photography and digital art, the show featured seven students who focused their projects on feminism and racial injustice.
Rebecca first thought of the idea for the show in April after she said she wanted to bring greater attention to the idea of social justice at the school and spark conversation about it.
“It’s sort of hard to get people within the BB&N community to think about social justice, plain and simple,” she said. “Last year’s Community Day really brought that to light. I led a workshop and realized that it’s really hard to push people out of their comfort zones.”
She landed on the idea of an art show so she could interest a wide range of people.
“[Art] draws people in without forcing them to have a conversation,” she said. “We are trying to expose artists to activism, activists to art—and then people outside those two groups can see the impact they can have in more ways.”
Rebecca began organizing the show at the beginning of the school year with the help of Art Teacher Nicole Stone, who coordinates both art galleries. Ms. Stone assisted Rebecca in figuring out details like how much work to gather and how to call for submissions. To recruit artists, Rebecca emailed What’s Happening.
Kate Whitaker ’19 was one of the artists to respond and submitted two pieces: a handmade poster that she brought to Boston’s Women’s March and a drawing from the back cover of the Point of View (POV)’s 10-year anniversary issue. The poster showed a painting of Donald Trump groping the Statue of Liberty and the POV drawing depicted a girl standing in the middle of the hurricane surrounded by news headlines from this year together representing people’s daily intake of news and media, she said.
“I think there’s so much news coming at us, and at some point we just get desensitized,” she said.
Kate added that she’s glad Rebecca organized the show.
“I’ve participated in a fair amount of art shows here, but I’m particularly passionate about this one because it’s basically the intersection of my two favorite topics: politics and art,” she said.
Annabel Kiley ’19 submitted a photograph of a girl sitting on a pavement in a fluffy, pink skirt with fried eggs on her legs.
“It represents two different sides of feminism and femininity,” she said. “The skirt is really pink and fluffy, and I think that shows outward femininity, while the eggs represent biological femininity. It relates to empowering women and [to the idea that] anyone with a feminine side, externally or internally, [should] flaunt it and be proud.”
The gallery also invited students—artists and non-artists alike—to write positive feedback in notebooks laid throughout the gallery.
Gabby Blanco ’21, who didn’t submit any art, said her favorite pieces were Kate’s poster and Athena Chu ’18’s visual poem, “Genesis Unedited.”
“It was interesting to see how people took our current social issues and portrayed them in vastly different, creative ways,” she said.
Ms. Stone said she was excited to see a student using the gallery to engage the community on issues relevant to the school’s wider culture.
“The show hopefully inspired conversations on campus about social justice, the role art can play in expressing feelings about those topics, and how art can bring those subjects more prominence,” she said.
Rebecca added that she hopes the art show lets people know that they can contribute to activism.
“This is a chance for people who don’t go to FemCo, PRISM, Eco-Reps, or SHADES to have an experience in social justice, and for people who are more interested in art to look at their art in different ways,” she said. “I hope we can continue doing this show in future years.”