Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art’s current visiting exhibit, “Women’s Point of View” showcasing the work of Saudi Arabian college students is on display until Nov. 12.
The exhibit displays numerous art forms and subject matter including family, female portraiture, female victims of acid attacks and bridal practices in Arabic culture, and all of the art displayed is the work of female college students from Saudi Arabia.
“What it is, is a group of young women who are at Dar Al Hekma University in Saudi Arabia and these women are getting a degree in graphic design, motion graphics, photography, any of these related fields, and so this exhibit encompasses a lot of their work,” said Delaynne Trim, curator of collections at Mabee Gerrer Museum of Art. “So we have a lot of different variety of work by these young women. So these are photographs, these are manipulated photographs, there’s some motion graphics, there’s some different graphic design projects, and then capstone projects which kind of encompasses all of the different mediums kind of coming together into one large project, there’s a couple of books out there that kind of represent that.”
The artwork provides a way from viewers to see that these young Saudi Arabian women are not so very different from themselves. And the many commonalities between their culture and the culture that is probably more family to American college students can be seen in the exhibit, through works such as “Books Make Me Feel”, which is an installation of four captioned images, that depict the way books make the artist feel. The captions – “make you feel free”, “take you every place on earth”, “make you clever, smart and educated” and “make you spiritual and peaceful” – reflect sentiments that are often seen on American college students’ Facebook or twitter feeds.
To Trim, finding this common ground is important. “I think it’s important to see that these young women in Saudi Arabia have very similar lives and aspirations to college students here in Oklahoma; that there are lots of similarities,” she said. “There might be some difference in dress or in the context, but in a lot of respects their lives are very similar. There is a lot of similar feelings and aspirations that come through these works. And the important of family is strong throughout a lot of the different projects. The importance of being able to actually showcase what their thoughts and feelings are. And, so I think it’s important to kind of focus on all these similarities in this day and age.”
The exhibit came to Mabee-Gerrer through the Linda Schaefer, an art professor who formerly worked in Oklahoma.
“I worked with Linda Schaefer,” Trim said. “Linda Schaeffer is a former art professor at East Central University in Ada, she’s been working for the last couple of years at Dar Al Hekma and she contacted the Mabee-Gerrer about possibly doing an exhibit. So the initial contact was between her and our director, Dane Pollei, but then I really work a lot with the details of how the pieces are coming in, who are the pieces from, getting the label text. I actually work very closely with her to decide which pieces actually go on exhibit. We actually had way too many options that could fit, so we had to kind of narrow it down, so we worked together to include as many different students and projects as possible.”
Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students with a valid I.D., $3 for children ages 6 – 17 and Free for children 5 and under. But Trim said that for students working on homework projects, the admission can be waved.
“We have a policy if a student is working on a project, then we wave their admission fees,” she said. “Any student just has to tell the front desk staff that their working on a project.”
The “Women’s Point of View” exhibit will remain on display until Nov. 12. After that Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art will host their annual gala on the first Fri. in Dec. and then another exhibit “Saints and Sinners 2” will follow on Dec. 16.