Commemorating Colby Women

Auteur / Author: 
Maggie LIBBY (Colby College, États-Unis)
Véronique PLESCH (Colby College, États-Unis)
Jeudi 25 Août 2011 - 15:15


Maggie Libby a graduate from Colby College, a small liberal arts college in Maine. Libby, leads, to borrow her own words, a “dual life,” as a practicing artist who also works in the college’s library (both as a visual resources curator and in Special Collections). It is her work in Special Collections, where the college archives are kept, that provided the impetus for her current body of work. A few years ago, while on her way to work, as she walked passed the so-called “Presidents’ Room”, whose walls are lined with a series of portraits — all male — she wondered, “Where are the women?” Elsewhere on campus as well, nineteen-century women are mostly absent, except for two dormitories named after women and a few photographs displayed in the alumni building. Yet, as Libby learned in the college archives, Colby had been at the forefront of women’s education. These early female students were true pioneers, but surprisingly little information about them remains. That silence further compelled her.
In 2004 Libby started working on series of paintings, drawings, and installations entitled “Where are the Women? Portraits of Colby Women, 1875-1904,” in which she seeks to make these absent women visible and create a site for commemoration. But what kind of commemoration do we have here? How exactly does the entire Portraits of Colby Women series — paintings, videos, and installations — function? Our joint presentation will discuss the nature of this commemorative endeavor and the means used to do so, in particular the different artistic mediums, the combination and interaction of words and images, and the participatory nature of the project.