BY NAIEKA RAJ ’19
Olympia, an art collective for gender-marginalized artists that was founded a year ago by Ali Rossi ’16, collaborated with student-run literary magazine Moneta on Saturday, Dec. 3, to produce an art, sound and dance performance called “No Texting” in the second floor art studio in the auxiliary services building.
According to the event’s organizers, the exhibition “explores artistic expression outside of the restricting world of textual language” and aims to encourage “empathy, compassion and openness to revolutionary forms of spoken and visual art.” With a variety of different exhibits, from poetry readings to dance performances, the exhibit lasted three hours from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Early in the evening, five artists presented their poetry at an open mic. “It’s a good feeling to be around people who care about art and are really there to listen,” said Katie Clark ’19.
Clark presented two poems titled “it is raining in new england” and “house of dreams,” respectively. After the poetry readings, the audience walked around the studio observing the various pieces on the walls and mingled around a table set up in an adjacent room where Olympia members sold merchandise, including screen printed t-shirts. Later in the evening, dancers from Marymount Manhattan College performed.
The intention of the merchandise was to create greater awareness for misrepresentation in the art industry. Even though the employment of women’s bodies for sculptural and mural inspiration is a common practice, the art is rarely created by women themselves.
According to Olympia member Libby Quinn ’17, the organization’s primary goal is “to create networking opportunities for artists on campus.”
Olympia maintains a social media presence featuring an “artist in focus” every week. By describing the artist’s processes, exploring their inspiration and detailing the steps necessary to achieve future success in the field, Olympia hopes to guide art students within the five-college consortium.
The event was co-hosted by Tiwale, an organization that aims to empower “women of the Malawi community through business education, micro-loans and school grants,” said its founder and director, Ellen Chilemba ’17. “No Texting” is the fourth time Moneta and Tiwale have collaborated.
On Saturday, Olympia provided space for Tiwale to exhibit their fabrics and art pieces and allowed them to keep profits from the sales. Chilemba says that with similar goals, the two organizations came together perfectly.
“It is very exciting to see the entrepreneurial spirit among MHC students” says Chilemba. “I am inspired by people coming together even though there is no promise of personal benefit.”