Kelly Sullivan/The AS Review

Labyrinth, the annual literary journal sponsored by the Associated Students Women’s Center and the Viking Union Gallery, showcases female experiences through art and literature submitted by Western students. In conjunction with the publication, a gallery exhibition of student artwork opened Feb. 22 and is set to run through March 11.

There will be a release party for the journal on March 3, when copies will be available for students.
The free publication combines prose and poetry, as well as visual artwork, to allow students to express themselves  through a variety of mediums.

The Labyrinth exhibition runs until March 11 in the VU Gallery. Photo by Joe Rudko/The AS Review.

Labyrinth Editor Annie Jansen said this year the WC aimed to make the journal inclusive of all female-identified issues, which was the WC’s goal for their other two winter quarter events: V-Week and the “Vagina Memoirs” performance project.

This year’s theme was “The Gray Areas of Identity.” It was chosen to prompt the experiences of gender identity and life choices that aren’t always black and white, Jansen said. Entries for the journal and the exhibition weren’t limited to female and female-identified students; this year two written submissions came from male-identified students, she said. One was a story about the challenges the writer’s female friend faced growing up, the other a poem about a girl committing suicide. An image by AS Review staff photographer Joe Rudko was also selected for the gallery exhibition.

“We’re giving a voice to people who normally wouldn’t have the chance to speak,” said Jansen. There can never be enough materials published on the female experience, much less enough creative outlets to show student work, she said.

Submissions for Labyrinth were taken from the beginning of fall quarter to the end of January. Students submitted a total of 60 pieces, 46 of which were chosen, including a sculpture and a multimedia video.

“We’ve got some really incredible art. We received some stuff I couldn’t ever have imagined how great it would be,” Jansen said.

This year there was also more prose and nonfiction submissions than in years past.

Labyrinth is nearing its fourth decade of circulation on Western’s campus. The journal is usually released during spring quarter, however, this year Jansen decided to try something new. After creating a new time line for the journal’s completion, she scheduled the release in conjunction with V-Week and the “Vagina Memoirs” to combine the events and advertise each through the other.

AS Publicity Center Graphic Designer Kayla Soper said she enjoyed putting together the posters and publicity art for the publication. She requested to head the project because she enjoys putting together tangible pieces. She said Labyrinth is a good outlet and way to express feelings and ideas through art.

Soper said she and the team of PC designers who worked on Labyrinth wanted to make sure the final product didn’t take away from the content.

“We want the art to speak for itself,” Soper said.

VU Gallery Coordinator Allie Paul said about 20 visual pieces are featured in this year’s exhibition. Each piece uses unique methods to represent women, she said. Sometimes they portray the actions of the body, sometimes experiences of the mind.

Paul said the Labyrinth exhibition is one of the most popular gallery events of the year.

She enjoys working on Labyrinth because of the unity it creates between WC and VU Gallery audiences. It’s good to see the different exhibitions the VU Gallery can bring to campus to serve the students, she said.

The exhibition in the VU Gallery is “a place where you can see the Labyrinth journal and exhibition as an entire entity,” she said.

At the journal’s release party, many of the artists and writers will be present to answer questions about their submissions. Selected pieces will be read aloud by their authors.