By Sidney Drmay
The Ryerson Image Arts Course Union held their third annual Women in Art event on April 4, featuring artistic works of women from Ryerson.
They moved from the Student Campus Centre to the Mattamy Athletic Centre’s alumni lounge. The change of venue brought out large crowds to view the various submissions that ranged from photography, visual art, short films, live music, poetry and dance performances.
“Last year and the year before we had [the event] in the Thomas lounge, we found it a bit small last year so we wanted a bigger space,” said Rebeca Ortiz, a co-organizer. For two dollars, attendees were able to enjoy the space and the art within it, all proceeds are to be donated to the North York Women’s Centre.
Avery Steele’s series of photographs was presented Monday night . They featured herself in environments that girls experience growth, mental health, assault and general girlhood.
One artist even glued pubic hair to a small square of bristle board to confront the issue of body hair.
First-year criminology student Bri Harlik noted their favourite aspect was the featured photography which incorporated “mixed medias.”
The night featured performances by Ivy Ivory, a music duo with Mitch Cairns-Spicer on guitar and Jenna Peddle singing, a solo music acoustic act by Sydney McInnis and many short films by various film students. There was also the addition of dance to the nights performances, featuring two solo performances by Sierra Goulding, from Short Dances, and Chantelle Mostacho.
Robyn Mattuto, a first-year film student, also presented a spoken word poem on her experience with a boy crushing on her in sixth-grade and his exoticazation of her by saying “she was pretty for an Asian.”
“I find that there’s a lot less women of colour in [my] program and if people see that there’s on person presenting their art and showcasing their poetry, film, photography hopefully, other women of colour step up and see that there’s other people doing this and they should definitely come out too,” Mattuto said.
First-year film student Hollie Olenik said she came out to the event support the artists and their work.
“I’m really passionate about supporting women and non-binary folks in art and supporting art by minorities in general,” said Olenik. “Especially as a film student, seeing work that’s not just in the norm all the time is important, and it’s nice to support my peers and celebrate all of this art.”
Though not every piece addressed feminism or womanhood, Sydni Lazarus, a co-organizer, believes that making this space available for those conversations is important.
“There’s an importance for activism in the classic sense of it, sitting down and talking, rallies, buttons, t-shirts, but also, I think there’s activism in doing what you love and showing it and I think that in itself is a statement and just as important,” said Lazarus.
Next year Ortiz and Lazarus will no longer be involved in planning as they will be graduating, however they are excited to see what happens with the event and hope it gets expanded to all of Ryerson, rather than being so focused on image arts.