Controversial art installation sparks campus debate – The Bowdoin Orient

Alex Spear
DISCUSSIONAL CREATIVITY Sophia Rosati ’24 exhibits an art installation for the visual arts seminar outside the Chapel. The installation was met with criticism from community members and was demolished on Tuesday night.

On Monday morning, a controversial art installation was displayed in the Chapel garden overlooking the Polar Bear statue. The piece sparked controversy and was destroyed on Tuesday night despite the security presence around the piece on Monday.

The artwork, a student project for Installation Art, a seminary in the visual arts department, depicts a wooden cross with messages about abortion rights. The cross reads “God’s Body God’s Choice” and has a picture of the womb engraved on the wood with the title “1973-2022”. Baby figurines are hung from the branches of the tree around the cross and on a small message board that says “mother” at the base of the tree. [sic] Each of the “RIP Mom” ​​has never been adorned with scattered mini tombstones engraved with various years.

Some students found the art’s message confusing.

“I think there’s a place for art and religion and all that stuff; it was bothering me personally,” said Izzy Miller at ’23. “It seemed so at first… it was done as a threat or an act of hatred… so there was relief when it was clarified that this wasn’t the case, but I don’t think that changes the fact that it seems. [it was done by] The street preacher who came to Bowdoin and harassed the students before.”

Other students questioned the artist’s intentions and were united by the backlash his work received from the campus community.

“Re-evaluating how they feel is supposed to be provocative for Bowdoin students, but all the same, it’s very vague… and at the same time, is this really how it should be done?” said Chloe Raines ’23.

The Orient has received a copy of the artist’s testimony provided by the work’s original creator, Sophia Rosati ’24, who set up the exhibition as a project for her 3000-level seminar given by visiting Assistant Professor Audrey Shakespear. Rosati, “a pro-choice work of art” and “Roe v. He outlined his hopes and intentions for creating the artwork, which he described as “a monument to Wade’s death”.

“Like the title, the work is a vehicle for merging Christian ideology with feminist ideology and represents the inextricable links between the two,” Rosati said in a statement. “Shaking images such as a large cross, babies and tombstones placed next to the campus’s non-denominational chapel are used to instill an innate shock on the viewer. My goal with this art is to force us to get rid of this ailment.”

Rosati’s statement also shed light on her intention to create an art project with the aim of “destroying the common ignorance we share as Bowdoin students.”

How do we react when faced with things beyond the boundaries of our bowdoin bubble? How can we interpret something we hope to disagree with without prejudice? This piece challenges the Bowdoin students to look beyond our initial judgments,” wrote Rosati.

According to Rosati, the community’s reaction showed the need for the dialogue her art was trying to create. He mentioned that he had to file multiple reports of vandalism and theft against his project. The college’s security report documented one instance where the art was “tampered and destroyed.”

“The response I saw on campus fulfilled the point in my artist’s statement that it can be incredibly difficult for all of us to separate our preconceived notions from our analysis as we look deeper,” Rosati said in an email to Orient. “I appreciate classes that discuss my work in depth, but I urge people to digest and accept my artist’s expression and to appreciate my art as it is—art.”

A public discussion session was held in the classroom on Tuesday, where participants were able to discuss the impact of students’ placements. However, very few people attended.

“I think a lot of harm could have been mitigated with an immediate statement,” Miller said. “I think it’s complicated, right? All this dialogue has its place and I don’t want to come across as an anti-art person.[…Amabencekampüstopluluğuolarakparçanınolsunyadaolmasınbuparçahakkındakonuşmamızgerçektenönemlinefreteylemigibigörünüyordu”[…ButIthinkit’sreallyimportantthatweasacampuscommunitytalkaboutthefactthatthepiecewhetherornotitwaslookedlikeanactofhatred”

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