Artwork shows labors of Indian women

By Keisha Howerth

The November exhibit at the DeKalb Area Women’s Center hopes to inspire interest in India.

The Experiences in India art show will be on display through Nov. 22 at the DeKalb Area Women’s Center, 1021 State St. The exhibit is free and can be viewed from 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays or by appointment by calling 815-758-1351. An opening reception will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday.

Gallery director Anna Marie Coveny chose to display artwork created by Lynn Hill and Danielle Dobies this month after seeing Dobies’ artwork for NIU’s Women’s Studies Mosaic Mural Project. Dobies invited Hill, her former professor at Elmhurst College, to display her photographs and items from India at the exhibit.

“The media is different, but the subject of the two shows is the same,” Coveny said of the women’s artwork.

Dobies’ mosaic was inspired by a study abroad trip to India she took with Hill.

“I was overcome with how beautiful and interesting India was,” Dobies said.

The seven-panel mosaic, on display at the center’s OnStage Gallery, depicts Indian traditions and struggles Indian women face.

“The women I met told stories of the complexity of life in India,” Dobies said.

Dobies looked at pictures she had taken in India as the basis for her art piece. Images found in the mosaic include a woman holding her child, a woman laboring, a hand representing the traditional storytelling dance nritta, and the Ganges River to represent spirituality.

“The river is the sight of holy ceremonies and is named for the Hindu goddess Ganga,” Dobies said.

The Great Hall Exhibition Space in the center shows the documentary style photography by Hill from the trips she’s taken to India.

“I have witnessed firsthand many of the issues that confront [Indian women],” Hill said. “My trips have been organized to focus on particular challenges and some of the initiatives working to mitigate those hardships.”

Along with the photographs, the exhibit’s display cases show items Hill acquired from various trips to India, like homemade games and purses.

“She actually met the women who made the purses at their homes,” Coveny said.

Hill also created collages illustrating Indian culture with images and phrases from the poem The Gardener by Rabindranath Tagore.

Dobies hopes the Experiences in India art show interests others into traveling to or reading more about India.