Atkinson Gallery shows moving exhibit on girls growing up

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF REVIEW

Hayley Herrera, Channels Staff

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Atkinson Gallery’s first exhibit this year, “Herself, Girlhood in Stop Motion Film” is a lighthearted work that digs deep into the complexities associated with girlhood and growing up.

“Herself” premiered January 26, 2018 at 5 p.m. and will be shown until March 23, 2018 in the Humanities Building, Room 111. The gallery’s hours are Monday-Thursday 11 a.m- 4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m -12 p.m. with free admission.

The featured artists are a diverse group of five women that all share a common theme within their stop motion film of the journey of girlhood. The films range in length from 3-11 minutes.

In her film, “Lluvia de Ojos,” Rita Basulto from Mexico City uses her main character, seven-year-old Sofia, to show what it is like to have loved and lost when Sofia mourns over the passing over her grandfather. The animated world of Sofia is mostly chromatic, mirroring the time in her life when she lost a loved one. Sofia’s glossy eyes and flushed cheeks kept me locked on her solemn face and caused me to feel her warmth and suffering all at once.

Laura Krifka from Ventura encompassed a whirlwind of emotional rollercoasters and explosions of color in her film, “Sow the Wind.” While the four pioneer children of the film were scrambling to gather themselves post wolf attack, I was taken through a vintage wonderland complete with pomegranate rivers and winsome sunsets brighter than Starbursts.

“Swallowed Whole,” illustrated by Heidi Kumao from Ann Arbor, Michigan takes on a minimalist approach. The girl in this film was illustrated as a ball of yarn on metal legs who would unwind and then re-wind in front of a mirror to symbolize the pressure she feels to look and behave a certain way in society. The film’s solid black backdrop made me feel as though I was trapped in the frazzled mind of the figure as her movements showed me the insecurities and anxiety she faces as a female.

Los Angeles native Kristen Lepore’s film, “Move Mountain” was about a young girl who was depicted as a white, cylinder like figure. She connected to the world around her through a vivid tribal dance. When the dance turned into chaos the figure ran and lost herself in a grey, blurred, and terrifying journey to the top of the mountain.

The girl’s successful endeavor through hell caused her to glow like a fresh blanket of white snow. I felt like she had conquered a fear in herself and her light became the inner strength she had just discovered.

Suraya Raja from London, United Kingdom illustrates that teenage girls’ inner thoughts can be a daily battle and cut like a knife in her film “Don’t Think of a Pink Elephant.” Layla, the main character, gets compulsive flashes of bloody images in her mind that are symbolic of her intense fear of hurting someone. Raja used the film to bring to life the idea that there is so much darkness and fear wrapped up into a young, confident girl that the rest of the world may never see.

The exhibit has five different TV’s set up, each station with two pairs of headphones and a bench big enough for two, so, no worries if you can’t face your childhood alone. Being a little girl is not at all just dress up and picking flowers, it is a deep, beautiful and complex time of discovery.

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