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Student’s “Tea & Talk” art explores effects of domestic violence

Each cup reflects the real-life experiences of women affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.
Each cup reflects the real-life experiences of women affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.
Photo by Lizzie Cleary ’17

As part of the biennial St. Kate’s Violence Prevention Collective Exhibition, Lizzie Cleary ’17 presents her collaborate art installation, “Tea & Talk,” which explores the effects of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Her collection is on display March 6–12 in the Coeur de Catherine second floor atrium on the St. Paul campus, with a reception March 10, 5–6 p.m. The installation moves to the Minneapolis campus, on display March 13–17 in Old Main Deli, with a reception March 15, noon–1 p.m. The exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.

Cleary first created some cups on the potter’s wheel at St. Kate’s ceramics studio and, while they were still malleable, brought them to several workshops centering on discussions of violence. Workshops took place at St. Kate’s Center for Women, the Sexual Offensive Services for Ramsey County, and Ascension Place in Minneapolis, a home for women in transition that was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Each workshop encouraged the participants to “carve, smash, cut, and do what they wanted to express themselves,” according to Cleary’s artist statement. “After the workshops I brought the cups back to the studio where I glazed and fired them. This installation showcases the cups made in the workshops that express the feelings and experiences of those who made them.”

Violence against women is a distressing pandemic that has lasting consequences on its subjects and victimizes one in three women, according to the organization UN Women. “My hope is that this project will inspire people to continue the conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault with those they are close to,” says Cleary. “I cannot look away or forget what I have heard.” 

Cleary’s exhibit was jury selected as part of the St. Kate’s Violence Prevention Collective Exhibition, a project that focuses on educating the St. Kate’s community on violence against women; every two years students are invited to submit a proposal for an artistic work that addresses this issue. For more information, contact Ann Buchen at ambuchen@stkate.edu.

March 9, 2016 by Michelle Mullowney ’17

See also: Arts, Liberal Arts, Social Justice, Students