A new exhibit on Ohio State’s campus advocates feminist ideas as a way to encourage human equality as a whole.
The OSU Arts Initiative exhibit “Tracers Takes Over” was brought to Hopkins Hall by a collective of artists, educators and activists known as Tracers. The group is interested in promoting feminism and other forms of social justice.
“We aim to help students to see a broader history and view of feminism,” said Melissa Woods, co-organizer of the exhibit and adjunct professor at Columbus College of Art & Design. “Things have changed, but when developments are made, they tend to slide back.”
“Tracers Takes Over” features panel discussions with OSU scholars and faculty, an interactive feminism timeline, a youth poetry workshop Sept. 20, lunchtime readings and more.
“People often feel excluded from feminism because they think it’s all white, straight women,” said Jennifer Reeder, an OSU alumna, founder of Tracers and an organizer of the exhibit. “But Tracers is inclusive, and we want to have broader conversations.”
Reeder said the name “Tracers” began as a fictional bar in a script she wrote, but became a natural usage for its new purpose with the connotation of “tracing out” sexism.
“Meaning we need to call out a situation or person, and maybe tell that person their behavior is really sexist and unacceptable, so the name has also become a verb used to call out inappropriate behavior,” she said.
Three panel discussions will be held in Hopkins Hall Gallery at 4 p.m. Sept. 11, 18 and 25 and are set to include dialogue that promotes the need for feminism, feminism’s relationship to race and feminism’s relationship to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
“The gallery typically shows artwork, but in this case, the space serves more as a hub for activity,” said Merijntje van der Heijden, the Arts Initiative’s deputy director of curatorial practice. “It’s not just a one-time event, but something that people can get engaged in.”
Reeder, also a filmmaker and visual artist, said the Tracers initiative started as a book club a few years ago and has always seen feminism as an ongoing philosophy that pertains to and affects both men and women. They still meet and encourage interested individuals to become members.
“There’s nothing about the modern feminist movement that is about emasculating or dominating men,” Reeder said. “It’s really about human rights.”
“Tracers Takes Over” opened Monday and is scheduled to continue through Oct. 3 and entry is free. The Hopkins Hall Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 128 N. Oval Mall. A screen-printing station will offer feminist prints free of charge at the reception Sept. 4 at 4:30 p.m.
Several co-sponsored events will take place through the duration of the event, such as a rock show Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Ace of Cups, located at 2619 N. High St.
“We hope to spark ideas about what gender looks like, how it manifests and how we as humans present gender,” Reeder said. “It’s a human right to deal with your gender however you want, because gender is personal.”