Tulane University Online Exhibits

Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Sudarios

This online exhibit is sponsored by The Latin American Library (LAL) at Tulane University. In September 2013, Erika Diettes exhibited samples of her work in the LAL gallery in conjunction with the Library’s annual Open House.  

SHROUDS (Sudarios) is the result of multiple theoretical concerns, an infinity of technical quests, and an observation of the world from a certain context.

My decision to create this work stems from questions which have remained from previous photographic series, but are the consequences of the same process that began with my series SILENCES (Silencios, 2004), which deals with survivors of the Second World War who live in Colombia.

These questions are also to be found in DRIFTING AWAY (Río Abajo, 2007-2008), a series which deals with the victims of forced disappearance, and BY FORCE OF BLOOD (A Punta de Sangre, 2009), another series in which I examine the idea of the search for the bodies of the disappeared by their families who, in the midst of despair, find a ray of hope in the vultures that might lead them to the remains of their loved ones. To date I have received the testimonies of more than 300 victims of the violence in Colombia. They have confided intimacies of this violence to me: not only its harrowing details but the way they rebuild their lives and keep going despite what they have suffered.

Many times, with my camera, I have been a witness of the moment when people have to close their eyes as they recall the event which divided their life into two parts. The intention of the SHROUDS series is to enable the spectator to enter into and walk through these impenetrable and apparently alien worlds, when s/he observes that moment in which these women close their eyes because they find no other way to communicate the true dimension of the horror which they witnessed and the intensity of the sorrow to which they were subjected.

The women whose faces appear in SHROUDS were first-hand witnesses of acts of horror. They were forced to feel in their own flesh or in front of their own eyes that there is no difference between human beings and the most savage beasts of nature; or rather, that there is a difference and it is that we are the only species capable of mass murder and the only ones who do not adapt to our own kind.1

 

1. Nikolaas Timbergen, cited by Erich Fromm, Anatomía de la destructividad humana. Mexico:  Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1975; 2004. p. 35.  

 

Erika Diettes is a visual artist who lives and works in Bogotá.  She works mainly with photography to explore issues of memory, pain, absence and death.  She has a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá), with a Licenciatura in Visual Arts and Communication from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá.  She has authored several essays on artistic representation in times of war, and her photographic and essayistic production has been included in various books, newspapers and journals.  Her work is part of the permanent collection of several major museums and has been exhibited at the Museums of Modern Art of Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and Barranquilla, the Museum of the University of Antioquia, the National Museum of Colombia, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago de Chile, Centro Cultural recoleta in Buenos Aires, De Santos Gallery and Houston Museum of Art.  Her most recent work, Sudarios, participated in the 2012 Fotofest Biennal, the Festival de la Luz in Buenos Aires, the Ex Teresa Arte Actual in Mexico City, and the Ballarat Foto Biennale in Australia among others.  Erika Diettes’ photographs also have been exhibited in other spaces linked to rememoration processes developed by several victims’ movements in Colombia.

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Mary Gehman's Feminist Ephemera: Violence Against Women

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“Mary Gehman’s Feminist Ephemera: Violence Against Women” examines the mistreatment of women in New Orleans in the late twentieth century. This exhibit draws materials from the “Feminist Ephemera Series” in the “Mary Gehman Papers Collection,” housed in the Newcomb Archive on Tulane University’s campus. Mary Gehman is a feminist, journalist, and activist who lived in New Orleans from 1970 until 2005, when she migrated to Donaldsville, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina. Though involved in numerous movements in New Orleans, Gehman asserts that her role as a journalist and the editor of Distaff was the highest priority in her life. Gehman collected materials from local events that informed her journalism and publication. 

Gehman donated her files on women in New Orleans and Louisiana, as well as the materials she collected through her job as the editor of Distaff, to the Newcomb Center for Research on Women at Tulane University in the spring of 2016. These materials include not only Feminist Ephemera, the second series, but also the first series in the larger collection, which consists of original copies of Distaff. The third series in the collection is a general papers and publications series, including correspondence, Distaff planning and layout documents, feminist periodicals and newsletters, and newspaper clippings. The Feminist Ephemera series is comprised of ephemera, which are items that one would typically discard after the first use or until the purpose of the material is fulfilled. Examples include newspapers, flyers, and pamphlets.

Though the Feminist Ephemera series comprises a plethora of issues, the history of violence against women is one that seemed most imperative to explore, particularly in the wake of the Tulane Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct. The survey, which was released on January 31, 2018, reports that nearly half of undergraduate women at Tulane have experienced sexual assault during their time at the university.  The majority of the items in the collection were created three decades ago, making it clear that this issue has been one plaguing Tulane and the greater New Orleans community for decades.

The exhibit displays items about not only rape and sexual harassment, but also domestic violence, disparaging representations of women in the media, the group Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), and the Take Back the Night march, founded by WAVAW and still operative today. This exhibit depicts how the dialogue surrounding and the language used to describe these atrocities have changed greatly in recent years. Certain items in this exhibit show how the issue was discussed at the time, such as the item “A Study of Rape Booklet,” in which the activism focuses on prevention and coping on part of the victim, rather than preemptive efforts to stop the perpetrators from committing the crimes. Though the discourse surrounding culpability and equality is changing for the better, it is imperative we look to the past to understand how we can change the future.  

 

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