Exhibit ‘Contemporary Conditioning’ sheds light on gender inequality and sexual harassment 

Photo by Niamh Brennan

TW: Mentions of domestic violence and online harassment 

The exhibition “Contemporary Conditioning” features the work of three artists with unique artistic styles and life experiences, each providing commentary on the state of women’s rights. The exhibit is displayed on the second floor of the Student Union Building (SUB) through April 7.

Artist Alyse Ambriel Hanna is a master’s student at Boise State in the visual arts program and Gallery Assistant for the Blue Galleries at Boise State.

Hanna’s work focuses on the mistreatment of non-human animals and women, showing the opprExhibit ‘Contemporary Conditioning’ sheds light on gender inequality and sexual harassment Exhibit ‘Contemporary Conditioning’ sheds light on gender inequality and sexual harassment ession they face within Western society. Hanna’s piece is multimedia and features a sculptural element as well as two videos. 

The sculpture consists of two cages of chicken wire. One cage includes a ceramic egg and is akin to the size of where a chicken spends the entirety of its life on a factory farm. The other cage is large enough to hold the average American woman. 

The first video, “Machined”, depicts the treatment animals undergo in factory farms, illustrated through a demonstration by Hanna utilizing a balloon to represent the animal. Machined” features the sound of Hana blowing up the balloon she will be utilizing, which represents the shared environment between humans and animals. 

Hanna’s second video, “Reveal”, uncovers the many makeup organizations that have branded themselves as “clean” but participate in animal testing, and highlights the pressure placed on women to succumb to modern beauty standards and regimes. 

Hanna was inspired to create these pieces after the overturning of Roe V. Wade and Idaho’s passing of House Bill 460, which prohibited abortions in Idaho. 

“When Idaho passed House Bill 460 I felt personally that my autonomy was being taken away over my female reproductive system,” Hanna said. “This made me think about all of the non-human animals that have experienced this type of objectification and exploitation as well due to their reproductive systems.” 

Many individuals have resonated with the piece and have sent Hanna pictures standing behind the cage that could hold the average American woman. It has been powerful for Hanna to see how the public interacted and resonated with her work. 

Hanna feels that through art she is able to make an impact and express opinions on issues she is passionate about. 

“Art is such an important vehicle for creating change. I think it’s an incredible platform to voice your experiences, to voice your stance,” Hanna said. “There’s a sense of courage I get when I’m making art, it’s hard to have that same courage when you’re out and about in public. So it’s something where you can … express yourself in private and then have the opportunity to share it and then a lot of times you’re validating somebody else’s experience.”

Artist Sivita Justice’s piece “Attrition of Absences” tastefully raises awareness of domestic violence against women. After hearing some shocking statistics regarding the number of women who have experienced domestic violence, Justice was inspired to create her portraits. 

Justice believes that to begin the process of dismantling our patriarchal society we must raise men in environments that provide education on the dangers of misogyny. 

“The way I’m painting them now is not a literal portrait,” Justice said. “They are portraits, but they’re more trying to capture the feeling or their pain, what they’ve gone through. So that was really evolving for me.”

Justice noted the ways in which the other pieces build on or further each other’s themes, citing artist Linane’s piece “When Did Our Bodies Not Become Our Own,” which centers around verbal violence as an example. 

“For a man verbal violence that is almost structured [as] this is how you come on to women. And if they don’t respond, then you get more fierce,” Justice said. “I think what my pieces are is the end product of that kind of violence that maybe isn’t even realized in our culture.”

As Justice’s portraits focus on shining a light on acts of domestic violence, she highlights the element of a desire for control that is often at the core of these attacks. She referenced a woman from India who refused to quit her job after her husband demanded it and another woman who was killed for seeking an education in Turkey. 

Artist Maiyan Linane’s pieces “When Did Our Bodies Not Become Our Own” and “The Sticker Project” bring awareness to online harassment towards women, something that has often been downplayed in the media. 

Lianane’s reflections on her personal experience growing up alongside the internet inspired the creation of “The Sticker Project,” an exhibit that invites audience members to peel back strips of paper to reveal framed online messages women have received. These messages were then placed on the bodies of models with transfer paper and photographed to create “When Did Our Bodies Not Become Our Own.”

“Using the female bodies was complicated because I didn’t want to re-objectify them. It was basically showing how those words can be internalized, and also become your identity,” Linane said. “You have to navigate your own identity through the way you get treated online or you decide not to identify [when] having an online presence.” 

Linane’s work strives as a reminder that predatory online behavior should be unacceptable and legislated against. 

“These feelings and behaviors already exist in the world. And these behaviors already exist, it’s not new,” Linane said. “[With] the internet, you have the ability to reach people in a different way and be more uninhibited. These things would be illegal in the real world, [but] online it’s just kind of like laughed off.”

Each of these artists drew from personal experiences or the experiences of other women to create beautiful and emotionally charged pieces. To see these incredible works stop by the second floor of the SUB before April 7.

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