REVIEW: Victors for Art—Michigan’s Alumni Collectors

For some reason, I envisioned a collection of aged oil paintings and sculptures at the sound of the Victors for Art exhibit. I thought to myself, an exhibit of work owned by alumni? They probably have ancient sculptures and European paintings or something. 

And the exhibit did have that. I spent a good ten minutes marveling at an oil painting comprised of various shades of blue, featuring two men on a cliff. Another several minutes were spent admiring an oil painting of a woman who appeared to be deep in thought, pictured below; I took note of the wonderful shading and highlight that the artist captured in this piece, especially through the wrinkles and folds of the woman’s veil.

Photo courtesy of the UMMA

But Victors for Art went beyond one’s envision of a typical museum art gallery: I found myself looking at a stuffed rooster in a glass casing, standing across from one that was identical in appearance but was comprised of various materials. Other works included a set of figurines that represented the twelve zodiac animals ( dating back to several centuries), a painting of a nude woman leaning on a large pack of Lifesavers, and a large piece of a woman dazzled in embellishments, pictured below.

Photo courtesy of the UMMA

As the group of alums who made this exhibit possible was diverse, so were the works themselves. This gallery is presented along with the theme of figuration, going with the idea that this exhibit will “allow visitors to explore the variety of artistic responses and purposes encompassed…” and that’s exactly the kind of experience I had when visiting Victors for Art: Michigan’s Alumni Collectors—Part I: Figuration.

Photo courtesy of the UMMA
Photo courtesy of the UMMA

For those who have not yet seen this exhibit, it’s a must! Victors for Art provides the opportunity for one to view art that may not usually be available for the public to view. The exhibit is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11AM – 5PM and Sunday 12PM – 5PM!

PREVIEW: Victors for Art—Michigan’s Alumni Collectors

Among the plethora of special events and festivals that the University of Michigan is hosting for the 2017 Bicentennial, the UMMA is showcasing works of art collected by their very own alumni. These works, which range from oil paintings to sculptures to multimedia, come from a variety of artists such as Christo, Jean Dubeffet, and Gergia O’Keeffe. The gallery Victors for Art gives visitors the opportunity to view art that would otherwise not be seen by the public eye.

Take the chance to celebrate the university’s bicentennial and view these works while they are at display at the UMMA!

When: Now until June 11th
Time: Monday through Saturday 11:00AM to 5:00PM, Sunday 12:00PM to 5:00PM
Location: UMMA

REVIEW: Consent by De-Zine Release Party

Cover of the SAPAC’s zine “Consent by De-Zine”

I wander into a room that sings a song from hidden speakers while people are arranged in clumps by the pizza table. A banner of hearts that reads “CONSENT BY DE-ZINE” is sprawled over that table. Unfamiliar with those around me, I slowly walk around until I stop at a table that has little blue books sprinkled on it. That’s when I see a girl with short, jet-black hair who greets me with a smile.

She introduces herself as D, the graphic designer of SAPAC: the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. I’m at the release party for their zine, but I don’t really know anyone at the event or know what’s going on (I showed up late because of a meeting). D fills me in: this zine, called “Consent by De-Zine” is a compilation of visual art and poetry that students from campus submitted. The content ranges from healthy relationships to the topic of consent, both being very delicate yet important points of conversation on a university campus setting. This zine happens to be the first that SAPAC has put together, and so this achievement is being celebrated through music, food, and good company. I share D’s delight in this accomplishment, and then she takes me over to other members of SAPAC so that I can have a chance to meet more of board.

Page 12 of the zine. Created by Liana Smale
Page 17 of the zine. Created by Lena Briggs

Through energetic conversations and warm smiles, I meet Christina Kline, the investigator with the UM Office of Institutional Equity. I also meet members of SAPAC such as Rodrigo, who shared the experiences he’s had so far with SAPAC. At some point, some SAPAC members and I discuss the content of the zine. Grabbing one from the table in the front of the room, I flip through the colorful pages of the zine, impressed by my peers for taking the step of courage and publishing work that pertains to such delicate topics. D eagerly shows me her favorite page of the zine, which features cats and a lovely background of yellow. I continue to chat with her and others, about the zine, SAPAC, and eventually random things like speaking in different languages when drunk.

D’s favorite page from the zine!

By the end of the night, I’ve made some new acquaintances, learned more about SAPAC, and got my own copy of the zine. I thanked D and Christine and others for being so open, and made my way out. I’m definitely planning on attending future SAPAC events, such as the their 12th annual art show: rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change. There’s just something about taking heavy topics such as sexual assault & relationships, and translating that into works of art and words, that allow viewers to digest content that would normally make them turn their heads the other way.

PREVIEW: Consent by De-Zine Release Party

Consent. Relationships. Although these two topics occupy a certain space on university campuses, Valentine’s Day makes these subjects more relevant than ever. SAPAC — the sexual assault prevention and awareness center of the University of Michigan — will be addressing these topics through a zine that has compiled student art and written work showcasing these topics. The release party will be celebrating the publication of this zine.

SAPAC has been working all year to compile this zine of artwork and poetry, and is proud to celebrate its release. Come support SAPAC and attend the event! Details are on the image above, but also in text below!

When: Monday, February 13th
Time: 7:00 to 9:00PM
Location: North Quad Room 2435

REVIEW: Hijabi Monologues

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A woman sings “Hallelujah” while her friend plays guitar.
A freshman tells the stories of her grandfather’s past love, her mother’s past love, as well as her own experiences with love.
A woman from Malaysia recounts her experiences working in a male-dominated corporation.
A U-M alum shares her story of depression.

These women, and many more, shared various aspects of their life this past Friday night in the Rackham Ampitheatre. Although their backgrounds were diverse, these women shared the identity of being Muslim women who practiced the hijab: a modest lifestyle that includes wearing the veil.

Halfway Hijabi: Hijabi Monologues was a safe space created by sophomores Fatima Haidar and Alyiah Al-Bonijim. These students felt the tension towards Muslims after last year’s election and felt that Muslims, particularly hijabis, needed a space to showcase who they are. This would allow Muslim women to be seen in another light, rather than have the media paint a picture of Muslims for Americans. What Fatima and Alyiah thought to be a small get-together, however, was anything but.

I arrived twenty minutes before seven and found a seat in the third row of the theatre. People trickled in as I made small talk with those around me, but by 7:15PM the room was packed: doors were blocked by a wall of students while others sat on the floor of the stage. Attendees included Muslims and non-Muslims and people of various ethnic backgrounds. After several complaints from security, everyone finally settled in and the monologues began.

Each hijabi—a Muslim woman who practices the hijab—who presented in the safe space had something unique about them that they shared with the audience. Students were moved to tears when U-M alum Dana sang “Hallelujah.” The room was filled with laughter as Malaysian student Anati shared comical moments of her life, of why she decided to practice the hijab. For each story, the audience gave a roaring applause for the courage that the hijabis presented when they were on the stage.

Shortly after the monologues was dessert, where presenters and audience members got to sit together and converse while eating sweets. New friends were made that night, and I was no exception to that.
I was glad to have been able to go to this event last Friday, to listen to the stories of such wonderful people, and would definitely stay on the lookout for more safe space events to come!



REVIEW: Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater

Photo courtesy of the UMMA

Although the UMMA houses many intriguing exhibits, the Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater has become a favorite for visitors of the museum. The art of kabuki theater, which is a classical form of Japanese drama that dates as far back as the 17th century, has been captured by colorful woodblock prints for the public to view. The exhibit currently showcases a collection of these prints, including those made by admired print-artists such as Utagawa Toyokuni and Toyohara Kunichika.

When I first stepped into the exhibit, I was greeted by oriental music and a large wall colored in blue, with text that described the art of kabuki theater. After reading the text, I make my way around the room—it was spacious, with clean white walls that had splashes of color from prints. These depictions of theater showcased famous actors and actresses in scenes from actual plays, as well as fictional ones. Some of the scenes included actors in disguise from enemies, lovers who were reunited, and battle scenes.

Photo courtesy of the UMMA
Photo courtesy of the UMMA

Among the collection of prints was a showcase for a bright red kimono with gold embroidery in the shape of various animals. This kimono was iconic for a specific kabuki actress, who was rarely seen wearing kimonos of other colors.
Next to the kimono was a TV that played a video recording of a kabuki theater performance from the late 1900s, a visual that seemed to bring the prints to life.

Overall, visiting the exhibit was a wonderful experience. I was enlightened of an aspect of Japanese culture that I did not know existed. Don’t miss the chance to view the exhibit for yourself—it will be at the UMMA until the 29th of this month, from 11AM – 5PM on Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12PM – 5PM on Sundays!