Art Students Launch Exhibit Highlighting Minority Voices
Zaynab E., '20 (left), and Abbey P., '20 (right), at the opening of their exhibit, On the Margins.
By Olivia Q.
December 17, 2018
On the Margins, an art exhibit that brings the trials and tribulations of student minorities into the spotlight, recently opened to the public and will be on display until December 19 in the Master Gallery. Curated by Westridge students Abbey P., ’20, and Zaynab E., ’20, On the Margins highlights the minority experience and raises awareness of those from different socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and identities.
Abbey explained that On The Margins came from a need to give silenced minorities on campus an “artistic platform to share their experience” and to bring discussions about the minority experience outside of affinities. “I feel like, at Westridge, we all just go into our little groups,” said Zaynab. “Especially with affinities, much of the conversation that happens doesn’t leave our affinity meetings.”
In Abbey’s and Zaynab’s eyes, Westridge approaches discussions regarding identity in an appropriate and politically correct fashion. However, this approach can be mundane or even tiresome for students. “I feel like talking at you is kind of boring, [but] art is something that everyone shares,” said Abbey.
Not including the curators, the gallery features the work of eleven students, whose art discusses their experiences as minorities, be it race, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, or nationality. “It’s in an opportunity for people to step out of the bounds of political correctness and to truly ask people about their minority experience,” Abbey said.
On the Margins is also a chance to take art outside of the confines of a classroom and bring the conversation about the minority experiences to new audiences. “In my personal experience, in the art classes that I have taken, I have found a way to include my specific experience with my identity,” said Zaynab. “But it's always been in the bounds of a classroom, in the bounds of a rubric, in the bounds of a grade. I've never really had some sort of outlet to make art and present it to the entire school.”
Junior Haley P.’s “We Can See” explores the physical misrepresentation of Asians in art. Haley realized this distortion of appearance when she was watching the critically acclaimed movie, "The Nightmare Before Christmas." “There’s this one scene where Jack is visiting all the children’s houses and there was one house with clear, Asian motifs,” said Haley. “The children [in the house] had lines for eyes.” Enraged by this depiction, she “had to pause the TV” because it was a “very inaccurate representation” of Asian physicality. “Our eyes are open,” Haley said. “We have eyes, we don’t have slits.” Fueled by her indignation, she wanted to create a piece that represents the Asian-American experience.
As a Korean-American, Haley wants her piece to have depth on both a literal and metaphorical level. She explained that the eyes serve as a message to non-Asian communities that “[Asians] can see the injustice surrounding us. We can see all this racism. We’re not blind. We’re not silent. We’re not quiet.”