May 01, 2017

Outdoor art installation commemorates victims and survivors of sexual violence in Minnesota

This spring, April showers bring May flowers of a different kind altogether.

Lizzie Cleary '17, graduating studio art major, culminated her senior honors project last week with a collaborative community art installation, Roses and Pink Crosses. For the next two weeks, passers-by of the St. Kate's front gate will be greeted with crocheted roses and fabric bearing the names of over 300 victims of sexual and domestic violence in Minnesota from the last ten years.

"This all stems from my senior honors project, where I analyzed a memorial for victims of sexual violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico," says Cleary. "I used what I learned from that and applied it to how St. Kate's can create a memorial to recognize sexual violence in our own state."

Cleary wanted to place particular emphasis on recognizing the names of the victims. She collected them from the Femicide Report, which is produced by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women and "provides annual documentation on domestic violence homicide in Minnesota."

Social justice issues and art activism have been a consistent presence in Cleary's work. Her pieces in Still | Tension, this year's exhibition of graduating studio art majors, feature a large-scale wall installation embodying the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico and the accompanying issues. (Her wall installation piece has been purchased by St. Kate's.) Last spring, she also worked with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence to develop a clay-medium social practice exhibition titled Tea & Talk.

Photos and story by Michelle Mullowney '17