Art museum exhibit makes students think

Art museum exhibit makes students think

Tatiana Valenzuela

At the Koehnline museum art exhibit, a certain painting stood out to me above the others. “Rites of Passage”. A girl with messy hair and a bold stare in her eyes, is the center of the painting.  There were tattoos all over her body and various colors ranging from warmer to cooler tones. Her eyes held a shade of yellow and green in them and there were markings of her body. 

The most eye catching part of this piece was the tattoo of her arm that read, “nevertheless she persisted,”a quote that is well known in the feminiist movement. The expression became well known after the U.S. senate voted to quiet down senator Elizabeth Warren back in 2017. After studying this piece and reflecting on every detail, I could see the symbolism clearly. 

According to the Koehnline museum brochure, “the body itself becomes fashion-a direct expression breaking stereotypes of tattoos as deviance.” The girl was marked with streaks of color and images. The markings symbolizing the ways she has been labeled or treated harshly in the past. The colors of the markings represent hope of who she is choosing to become despite the marks of the past. 

The girl in the painting as a whole, symbolizes women all over the world who feel as if they are prisoners in society, to be morphed into who and what society wants them to be.

 The tattoos may represent the freedom of speech, women have to speak for themselves and who they want to be, as well as freedom in outwardly expressing themselves through physique, clothes, etc. 

The expression of the girls face depicts a woman who is choosing to be wild and free. This attitude is a rebellious act to the standards the world has for her. I see her face as an attitude of freedom that women can choose to have, over the choice to conform. 

The nakedness and positioning of the girls body almost beg to show the freedom women can have in their bodies as well as their spirits. 

Lastly, the quote on the girls arm summarizes the meaning and intention behind this piece; the truth that women choosing to walk in their true identities is nothing short of painful, but they don’t stop. 

Despite the criticism, expectation, and judgment, women continue to persist in becoming who they are meant to be. Females must choose to be who they are instead of who they are expected to be. 

“Rites of Passage” clearly represents the new identity women choose to have in being exactly who they are instead of who the world expects them to be. This painting depicts this message boldly. 


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