By Shawna Leader
In a black and white photo, a girl stands facing a wall with her arms outstretched. Though viewers cannot see her face, her shadow is visible in front of her. To the left, a painting of a green-eyed tiger surrounded by swirls of paint and collaged paper bares its teeth.
The pieces, “Alone Without Lonely” by Marybeth Coghill and “From Pain Comes Perseverance” by Shelly Browder, respectively, are just two of many pieces on display in the Viking Union Gallery’s showcase of art from the AS ROP Women’s Center’s annual publication, Labyrinth. In addition to artwork, the magazine also contains poetry and prose.
“The subject matter of each piece is different,” Women’s Center Program Support Staff and Labyrinth Editor Adrienne Creer said. Some of the pieces focus on femininity, others are critiques and others are empowering, she said.
The process of putting together Labyrinth began in September, Creer said. Now that the magazine is printed and available on campus, she is pleased with the final product and excited about it as well, she said.
“I hope they [readers of Labyrinth] enjoy it and I hope they appreciate it, connect with it or at least respect the art that’s being done by these important artists,” Creer said.
Cory Budden, VU Gallery coordinator and Allie Paul, VU Gallery assistant coordinator, are excited to have a variety of interpretations of the general theme of femininity in the Gallery. Additionally, both women said that seeing the photos in color (Labyrinth is published in black and white) brings the photos to life.
“Being able to work with this particular theme of women and gender issues, we haven’t been able to do that this year,” Budden said.
Coordinating between the VU Gallery, the Women’s Center and the artists was no easy task, Paul said. But having a link between the VU Gallery and the Women’s Center, as well as working with the artists, has been a good connection, she said.
“It’s been a good experience,” Paul said. “The final product is always very rewarding.”
Freshman Carmen Daneshmandi has three pieces on display in the Gallery: “Value Village Strut,” “You Can’t See Me” and “The Neighbor’s Girls.” She submitted her work to Labyrinth because she liked the idea of being able to contribute her own interpretation of the general theme. She called this being a part of the “community of interpretation.”
“All different kinds of people, art and ideas [are] being displayed…I wanted to display my work and also be a part of the community,” Daneshmandi said.
During the release party last Thursday, contributors read their poetry and prose in the VU Gallery. The audience sat in a semicircle around the podium, where speakers of all ages from Western and the Bellingham community shared their poetry and prose. The pieces covered several themes, from body image to race to womanhood.
“I am so in awe of how beautiful this publication is this year and I’m really glad to be a part of it,” said junior Adam House, who read his prose piece “Read Me” at the release party.
Copies of Labyrinth are available at various locations across campus, including the Women’s Center, located in Viking Union 511.