The opening was followed by a panel discussion.
The exhibit, which was named “Denouncing Violence Against Women,” featured 18 posters from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics related to the genocides that have occurred in Armenia, the Congo, Guatemala and Rwanda. It also included artistic representations of the recent murders of women in Ciudad Juárez in Mexico.
Stephen Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, spoke as a member of the panel regarding the importance of global awareness of genocide, particularly with respect to sexual violence.
“I am very aware as a male in this world that I am the enemy,” Smith said. “Events like this are extremely important because men are not taking their responsibility for sexual violence in the world.”
The posters in the exhibit were chosen by students as part of an art curating course last fall and were divided into four sections: depictions of dehumanization, individuality, trauma and breaking bonds.
Lauren Dodds, one of the student curators and a graduate student in art history, said she focused her collection on trauma because of what she called “its continuing presence in life.”
“It’s this aspect of violence that doesn’t happen in the moment,” Dodds said. “It’s just this lifelong struggle that people are left with.”
Director of the Fisher Museum Selma Holo said while the exhibit highlights genocide around the global, more needs to be done to curtail systematic violence around the globe.
“It’s not over,” Holo said. “I don’t think we’re in a position particularly to prevent it but we certainly can bring our voices to that.”
Art historian and board member for the CSPG Laura Pomerantz gave a brief presentation on contemporary art and the Cambodian genocide, highlighting the work of Cambodian artist Ly Daravuth.
“The memory of the horror does not eliminate the possibility of its repetition,” Pomerantz said to conclude her presentation.
Faye Espiritu, a junior majoring in business administration, said the event inspired mixed emotions.
“The subject itself was hard to take in and it’s not something that a lot of people talk about in depth,” Espiritu said. “We’re women — this is us. I feel like a lot of times when people talk about it it’s like some issue that’s outside of us but it is directly affecting us.”
Linda Wang, a junior majoring in sociology and philosophy, politics and law, said the discussion and exhibit touched upon issues that are important to both genders.
“The art is really contemporary and mass-produced and, as a result, since its not intended for a global audience necessarily, I think it really speaks to the state of gender relations in the world,” Wang said.