Curating an Art Exhibit
An In-Depth Look at the (In)visible Organ Art Exhibit with Curator: Libby Dotson
This Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, we want to introduce you to a few of the women who are behind the initiatives happening at GWHT.
Today we are introducing you to one of the co-curators of the (In)visible Organ Art Exhibit, Libby Dotson.
Libby Dotson is a Research Associate at GWHT. Libby is a graduate of Duke University and became involved at GWHT in 2017, while she was in her senior year. When Libby joined GWHT, she was interested in forming a bridge between science and humanities.
Libby joined just in time as this was around the same time that Dr. Nimmi Ramanujam, Dr. Wesley Hogan and others at GWHT were beginning to dream about planning an art exhibit.
Before the Exhibit - A “Call for Artists”
When Libby joined GWHT, the art exhibit was not imagined yet and was just an idea. This idea stemmed from the 1st home study of the Callascope device that was currently being completed.
Libby’s primary role at first involved creating a “Call For Artists”. She recalled how she would spend a lot of time meeting with artists to identify people who would be a good fit for the project. People from all over the world shared about it with their friends and Libby remembers that the whole team was shocked by how many artists wanted to be involved.
When recruiting the artists, Libby was able to share with the artists that they would be able to draw from their own experiences as well as from the materials provided by the women who were testing out the Callascope through the home studies. The dream of this exhibit was to recruit artists who would be able to recreate images of the cervix, an organ that we have never really seen in creative details before.
Leading up to the Exhibit
Once the team had recruited the artists, the next step was to chose a location for the exhibit.
The team ended up choosing the Rubenstein Arts Center (Ruby) at Duke University. This location was chosen because of its proximity to the diverse student and faculty population at Duke, as well as its convenient location and parking for visitors from the broader Durham Community.
In the fall leading, the team hosted two workshops to bring awareness to the upcoming (In)visible Organ Exhibit:
Playful Vaginas Workshop
- Led by artist Meg Stein
- This workshop focused on mindfulness, facilitated a safe space, and led participants through a sculpture workshop on reproductive health education, and facilitated discussion about femininity and the female form.
Check out this video to see more about this workshop!
Endogenous Zones Workshop
- Led by artist Saba Taj
- This workshop provided individuals with a space to create multi-media art to represent what reproductive anatomy looks like through their perspective.
January: Getting Ruby ready!
As January and the start to 2019 rolled around, Libby was hard at work with finally designing the Ruby art space.
Libby recalled how the exhibit space was set up, “We decided to set up a vagina tunnel at the start of the exhibit space as a way of symbolizing that one was re-entering the womb. You were in a tunnel of pink fabric and you couldn’t see any of the exhibit for the first 20 feet.”
Check out our blog, Reflections for Curating the (In)visible Organ Art Exhibit, where more members of the GWHT team share their experiences.
The (In)visible Organ team recently interview Adair Jones, another co-curator of the exhibit. Click here to read about her experience of creating a visual concept of the birth canal.
Turning this vision of a combination of science and humanities would not have been possible without the help of so many people!
- Contributing Artists: adé oni, Claire Alexandre, Frankie Toan, Jamie Letourneau, Jenny Eggleston, Kelly Johnston, Kelsey Graywell, Marie Alisa Garlock, Opeyemi Owa, Saba Taj, Afro Child, Shin-Yiing Yeung, Taji Shabu, Adair Jones, Andrea Kim, Diane Lee, Sonia Ruiz
- Exhibition Director: Libby Dotson
- Curation: Adair Jones, Diane Lee, Libby Dotson