The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awarness Center (SAPAC) hosted the 17th annual ‘rEVOLUTION: Healing Through the Arts’ art exhibition Sunday evening in the Rackham Assembly Hall. Coordinated by the Survivor Empowerment and Ally Support (SEAS) branch of SAPAC, the exhibition featured photography, drawings, paintings and poems.
LSA seniors Zoe Lainis, Thiany Riddihough and Sara Fess organized the event, which aimed to promote “healing, visibility and awareness” through art of various mediums. Riddihough said the event hoped to help artists express their emotions through non-traditional means of communication.
“By giving people an opportunity to put their feelings and … emotions into their art and come and share it … and (to) have people recognize that can be a really empowering space to have people connect, not only with people’s art, but (also) connect with each other.”
Lainis said the goal of the exhibit was to demonstrate support for survivors across campus.
“One of the big things we do is hold different events (like this) that try and support survivors and give them the opportunity to express the emotions that they’re dealing with through their healing process in any type of form that they want,” Lainis said. “(We want them to) feel support from everyone else on campus.”
The event, which was held in person for the first time since 2019, drew a consistent crowd throughout the night, allowing the audience to experience the art first-hand. Last year’s exhibition was held virtually due to COVID-19 concerns.
LSA senior Sam Katz attended the event and said she was excited to experience the event in person after having attended the virtual event last year.
“It’s nice to actually see the art in person and get to interact with the people who made it,” Katz said.
Architecture junior Kentaro Komazawa said experiencing the event in person was a better way to experience the art and connect the artists to their work.
“I came in with a light understanding … but looking at the pieces, (I feel) more connected to the individual,” Komazawa said. “And (I got) a lot more understanding about what these people went through.”
LSA senior Emilie Haji-Sheikh said she liked coming to the event to see the art in person to get the full extent of emotions that the art evokes.
“I was really excited for this,” Haji-Sheikh said. “To look around at the art and just see how people interpret and how they’re feeling, because a big thing about art is the emotion that it evokes. I think that it is powerful for women because we already understand these feelings and these emotions, and I think it’s important to reach more people (with these artworks).”
Haji-Sheikh said she enjoyed the poems that were performed despite her traditional learning style.
“I like the poems a lot, actually, that I was reading over there,” Haji-Sheikhwhich said. “(That) was surprising for me, because usually I’m a visual person.”
Fess said she felt that the art show was necessary for all survivors of sexual assault in creating a supportive and welcoming community.
“I feel (this is) a healing experience for not necessarily (just) the people who submitted their art, but (also) people who did not,” Fess said. “(Those) who just come to look at other people’s (art) or still see that everyone is very supportive … (Some people) don’t want to submit this year, (but) they might want to next year, or never, but it’s still a good thing to see how supportive everyone is of each other.”