SAPAC to showcase the artwork of sexual assault survivors and allies

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 10:25am

Ryan Cox

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Art has shown time and time again that it cannot only serve as a voice to the speechless, but also as a form of healing for the broken. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) recognizes this, and through their event, “rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change,” they hope to not only bring attention to local artists, but also show the power and effectiveness of art of all mediums.

Hosted by SAPAC’s Survivor Empowerment and Ally Support (SEAS) team, “rEVOLUTION” is an annual event hosted in Rackham Graduate School that showcases the artwork of both survivors and allies in the community. The artwork represents a variety of subject matters. In an interview with The Daily, LSA junior Jessica Hobbs and LSA sophomore Matt Weiner talked about their experience organizing the event. Founded in 2006, the event focuses on promoting “art as a healing process and sharing the stories of survivors in a way that’s more digestible and even more intense emotionally,” said Hobbs, the organizer of this year’s “rEV.”

The event showcases a range of artistic styles and pieces, from three-dimensional hanging pieces, visual art of all shapes and sizes, a few poetry pieces, dance, audio-video presentations and much more. “It’s structure mostly like a gallery event, but we do have a mini-schedule for the films and dance presentation,” Hobbs said.

The event has around forty different pieces on display, which Weiner says is “enough to show, but not too many as to be overwhelming. We want everyone to be able to see everything.”

The pieces touch on a variety of subject matters — some lighthearted, and some extremely personal — and the gallery welcomes that. They aim to create an environment for all types of art. Weiner discussed the selection process, commenting on how “There aren’t any specific requirements (for an art piece), per say … we’re just hoping to allow artists to have a space (for their art) to grow and heal from their experiences rather than make arguments.”

The two emphasized the importance of the role of art in the organization, and why they believe expression through art can be an integral component in healing and empowering survivors. “It’s a really easy way for people to connect with something that isn’t necessarily a news headline of a political topic. Using art as a medium allows people to interface with their emotions more readily than, say, interacting with a headline,” Hobbs stated.

And more so, the experience can be just as important for the observer as well as the artist. Weiner discussed how, “It’s a two-fold experience. It can be hard to verbalize exactly what you’re thinking on the artist’s side, however on the viewer’s side, the art can be very approachable and digestible.” Gallery-goers may resonate with a piece of visual art and relate to the emotions conveyed through it more so than they would have with, say, a piece of poetry.