The newest exhibit in Northeastern’s Gallery 360 harnesses the innate story-telling qualities of graphic design to explore the gender discrimination facing women at home and abroad. Titled “Women’s Rights are Human Rights: International Posters on Gender-based Inequality, Violence, and Discrimination,” the exhibit offers a sometimes-difficult look into the varying challenges women face around the globe.
The 44-poster exhibit, organized and curated by Elizabeth Resnick, professor emerita of graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, features work from domestic and international artists and designers—work that challenges viewers to understand and acknowledge the role everyone should play in protecting human rights.
“In collecting these materials, my thrust was to touch upon the most important (in my opinion) aspects of this discrimination and violence that many women face on a daily basis,” Resnick said in an interview for Print Magazine. Those aspects of discrimination include domestic violence and its acceptance in many cultures; inequality of the sexes; gender and race discrimination; and unequal pay.
Though today marks International Women’s Day—making the exhibit especially relevant—organizers noted that the posters address issues that need to be discussed and acted upon year-round.
Sitting in the gallery, campus curator Bruce Ployer said, “There are a lot of issues in this room that might be familiar to some people, and there are a lot of issues that might be totally foreign. For the gallery to be able to engage and educate people is great.”
He noted that planning for the exhibit began a year ago and is not a response to the presidential election nor the protests it’s spurred. “Regardless of who is in the White House, these are important messages to share,” he said.
The posters highlight issues of domestic violence, wage disparity, and voting rights, among others. Some are more straightforward than others, but each is impactful. This, Ployer said, is the power of graphic design.
“Design solves a problem,” Ployer said. “In this case, there are so many issues out there, and these works illustrate them in such powerful ways.”
Lining the hallway outside Gallery 360 is another poster exhibit, the 95-piece Mandela Poster Project. Ployer said the exhibits work in concert with each other.
“They’re tackling political issues on a global scale,” he explained. “It’s a perfect fit for us because Northeastern is a global community.”
The Women’s Rights are Human Rights exhibit is on display through April 17.
Gallery 360 is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.