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A Socially Engaged Art Project Addressing Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

University Gallery, University of Massachusetts Lowell, October 24-November 25, 2016

CAN YOU SEE IT NOW? engages art, education, policy, and activism to address Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (DVSA). Although the exhibition’s primary focus is on men’s violence against women, the project refers to DVSA in all its diverse forms. The video LEAD BY EXAMPLE addresses how men can prevent gender violence, and intaglio prints include poignant narratives testifying to women’s violence against men, same sex violence and transgender violence. 

Installation view

The exhibit includes ostensibly Victorian wallpaper, bright red and inviting. Closer examination reveals something more sinister, weapons used to harm and hurt -- the most common instruments of abuse: fists, guns, knives belts... The wallpaper is a graphic reminder that the majority of victims are women and children assaulted in their homes by men they know. LEAD BY EXAMPLE screens on the wallpaper and introduces a bit of humor into an otherwise somber reality. Appearing like television news, the “mock-umentary” becomes a fantasy about a world where international leaders unanimously implore men to participate in preventing gender violence. The video includes doctrinaire leaders such as Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Vladimir Putin along with more sympathetic leaders such as Barack Obama and the Pope. Screening on another monitor is Michelle Obama's New Hampshire speech assailing Donald Trump's misogyny and sexual assault of women. Ms. Obama's oration is followed by a TED Talk by  Jackson Katz, renowned for his pioneering scholarship and activism on issues of gender and violence.
Details, THERE ARE ONLY PATTERNS, PATTERNS HIDDEN IN PATTERNS, custom designed wallpaper, 2016

Installation view

Also on exhibition is the WHY DO WOMEN STAY? quilt, which will travel to Washington D.C. as part of the national “Monument Quilt. CAN YOU SEE IT NOW? urges viewers to take action. Large posters throughout the gallery review the reasons people become ensnared in cycles of violence. Another poster addresses the serious problem of VICTIM BLAMING (#STOPVICTIMBLAMING posters are available at no cost for visitors to take and "hang it where it matters.") The posters remind us of our shared responsibility (and the urgency) to make our homes, workplaces, schools and neighborhoods violence-free.     Click on the right image below to view to full size poster.

Installation view

#STOPVICTIMBLAMING, offset poster, 18x24", 2016

SHATTERED PLATE, from the series, Can You See It Now? Blind embossed intaglio,
22x30", 2016
CAPSULE, from the series, Can You See It Now? Blind embossed intaglio, 22x30", 2016
Detail of blind embossed intaglio fist, 22x30", 2016
Detail of blind embossed intaglio, 22x30", 2016

Installation view

Fist animation

WHY DO WOMEN STAY? Quilt, 4 x 8', 2016

Given the racism that permeates our culture and the disparate treatment of Blacks by law enforcement and the criminal-justice system, Bachman and Moridpour were compelled to create #STOPSHOOTING. Black women have unique concerns about reporting DVSA due to their fraught relationship with the police. It is well-documented that responses to intimate partner violence involving Black women are often informed by stereotypes rooted in race and gender, and can be further complicated by other axes of oppression such as identifying as LGBTQ.

Installation view

#STOPSHOOTING, photomural, 42x80", 2016

Why I Didn't And Won"t Report My Rape, Liberate Yourself

Compelling Reasons Women Stay, Domestic Abuse Project

LOUDER THAN WORDS, public lecture, University of Massachusetts Lowell, October 2016

This project is funded by The Center for Cultural Innovation, The Department of Art and Design and the Gender Studies Program at University of Massachusetts Lowell, friends, family, students and colleagues who generously donated. LOUDER THAN WORDS would like to thank University of Massachusetts faculty, staff, and students, Eve Sheedy, Allan Jeffries Framing and Peter Scott.  Special thanks to Deborah Santoro.


Animation artist and creative advisor: Pouya Afshar, Master Printer: Nicole Petrou

Please note: A version of CAN YOU SEE IT NOW? premiered at The Art Gallery @ Glendale Community College in February 2016, titled CRYSTAL CLEAR.

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