Photo Display Celebrates Women’s Suffrage

Photographs from 105 participating artists will be on display on the south side of Ophelia Parrish near the bell wall from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 29.

The display is a collaborative effort of the Art Department and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and is part of A Yellow Rose Project in honor of the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. Selected images will also be screened on public monitors in several buildings on campus in the days leading up to the Nov. 3 general election.

A Yellow Rose Project is a large-scale collaborative photographic project made by women all across the country conceived by Meg Griffiths and Frances Jakubek. A year ago, artists were invited to make photographic work in response, reflection or reaction to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The goal of this project was to provide a focal point and platform for image makers to share contemporary viewpoints in the lead up to the centennial of women’s suffrage and now acknowledge it today. The mission in researching the complication of this anniversary was to gain a deeper understanding of American history and culture, to build a bridge from the past to the present and future.

Aug. 18, 2020 marked the centennial of the 19th Amendment. It was on that day 100 years ago women wearing yellow roses stood shoulder to shoulder in Tennessee awaiting the roll call of men that would cast their votes for or against a woman’s right to a voice in government. The bright flower was an outward symbol of their expression to gain equal representation. After decades of untold risk, through oppression, brutality, incarceration and even starvation, women fought seemingly insurmountable odds, at the local, state and national levels, to gain the right to be a part of the democratic process.

Though this movement granted rights to some women, and this achievement in itself is to be acknowledged and celebrated, the struggle did not end there. It was not until much later that all American women, regardless of race, were given the same privilege. Due to state laws and prohibitive policies, many women of color were unable to exercise their rights even given this momentous event. In light of these facts, A Yellow Rose Project asks women to look back upon this part of history from various perspectives, inviting both a critical eye as well as one that sees how far things have come.

Finding inspiration in the power of women to influence public perception and the perseverance to continue the arduous fight to obtain equal rights beyond ratification, A Yellow Rose Project gathers women in a collection of visions and voices to continue the conversation.

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