Student-led art show explores perspectives on reproductive biology

poster for Originalia art show
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Courtesy image

Despite the ubiquity and presence of reproductive experiences throughout all of human history, it remains a flashpoint of scrutiny, and often conflict, in both symbolic and real ways. Organs like the uterus, ovaries, cervix, vagina and vulva especially spur discussions and debates for what they represent in diverse facets of life, from concepts of gender to ideas of human rights and autonomy, ethics, culture and morality, among other things.

Ten UC Santa Barbara students will weigh in through their work at the Originalia Reproductive Biology & Art Show. Opening Monday, April 22, the showcase expands on the assumed objectivity of science with insight from lived experience, pairing student artists with graduate students and researchers in the field of reproductive biology. The free, public showing of paintings, sculptures, photography, poetry, dance, drawings and live performances will be held at the Glassbox Gallery on campus. The show is a joint effort of the departments of art and anthropology, 

“This was really a student-led initiative. Not only did they create amazing pieces, but they provided a different perspective for how I think about reproductive biology,” said anthropology professor Amy Boddy, who served as a faculty advisor on the show, along with art professor Kim Yasuda, and co-advisors Kristine Joy Chua, a postdoctoral scholar, and doctoral student Hannah Frogge. 

The event’s undergraduate founders, Emilie Risha and Anastasia Senavsky, designed and facilitated a class in which students collaborated with  their mentors and peers to create works that explore the metaphysical and existential concerns surrounding subjects such as menstruation, pregnancy, miscarriage, birth control, the limits of Western healthcare and the politics of reproductive biology. 

The weeklong show culminates with a reception on Friday, April 26, from 5-8 p.m. in the art courtyard, including live performances at 7 p.m., before moving to the UCSB Library for a special showcase event on Weds., June 5, from 3-5 p.m., in Instruction & Training Room 1312.

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Sonia Fernandez

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the organizers of the art show, mentors and faculty advisors
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Photos by Hannah Frogge and Andrew Dang
Clockwise from top left: Kristine Joy Chua, Amy Boddy, Hannah Frogge, Kim Yasuda, Anastasia Senavsky and Emilie Risha
Headshot of Sabrina Strings a Black woman with yellow shirt and drop earings
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Black Studies Professor Sabrina Strings