BSU explores freedom with art show

This semester, the UVM Black Student Union is making efforts to emphasize black pride and identity through various events.

BSU held an art show titled “What Does Freedom Mean to You?”, a collaboration between BSU and Davis Center curators, on the fourth floor of the Davis Center Feb. 17.

Student artists of any year were prompted to answer the question “What does freedom mean to you?”

A wide compilation of poetry, photography, ink and pen sketches, collages and digital prints presented various answers to the question.

BSU envisioned the show to be a celebration for Black History Month, and hopes to make the show an annual event, according to senior Ivonne Headley, the president of the BSU.

“The whole point of the show is community,” curator Julia Blasius said. Blasius said BSU and the Davis Center curators are aiming to make “What Does Freedom Mean To You?” the first of a series of art shows.

Blasius said that she has ambitions to publicize future shows in order to generate greater interest amongst students. She also said she hopes to see more submissions from students.

The show is also an effort to raise awareness for the art pieces that are exhibited in the Davis Center, she said.

“What Does Freedom Mean To You?” sends a message that emotionally resonates with many who feel marginalized and unsettled, especially in the current political environment, Headley said. It’s an empowering message that the BSU intends to make clear at UVM, she said.

“We’re here, and we exist,” said Headley.

Headley feels that the organization has a unique and important role to play on a predominantly white campus, she said.  

She said that it’s ironic that UVM promotes the creation of spaces and programs that emphasize diversity and social justice, yet a majority of the students involved are students of color.

Headley and Gabriel Martin, the vice-president of BSU, said they intend to increase their efforts to engage as many students they can in honest, constructive dialogues about privilege and inclusion within the campus community.

“I feel like a lot of the time people here at UVM are coming from a neo-liberal bubble,” Headley said.

The vice-president echoed the sentiment.

“I feel like there’s an underlying line in the sand that’s been drawn that a lot of people won’t step over,” Martin said. “ We want people to cross those lines, and to be uncomfortable, so they can actually learn things.”