SHINE is a photo exhibition by Alliyah Allen ’18 presented by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for Arts and Humanities and VCAM that serves the purpose of archiving womxn of color at Haverford. The opening of SHINE was widely attended by students from all class years, professors, and staff members, as well as the president of the college, Kim Benston. The lobby of VCAM was adorned with elegant white and red roses that elevated the celebratory ambience of the event as it commenced.
Alliyah Allen ’18 gave a brief speech that highlighted the significance of her exhibition and how it was dedicated to all womxn of color in appreciation for their beauty and their experiences. Her speech was met with generous applause, awed smiles, and a spurt of meaningful conversations across the room. The complete album of curated photographs and written pieces was on display in different spots at the lobby, and people gathered in crowds to look at them together. Over many rounds of apple cider and cheese on crackers, there were a number of people who got quite teary-eyed and emotional at the sheer beauty and raw emotion reflected in the exhibits and written works in SHINE. The message hit home for a lot of people, of color or otherwise.
Conversations overheard around the room explored how ‘womxn of color’ is a concept that is mainly centered in the United States and that a lot of international students were confused about whether or not they identified as the same back home – as everyone was essentially a ‘person of color’ in the places they called home. There were conversations about microaggressions and the small injustices that womxn of color face daily, and how they become so internalised that they don’t bother people anymore. All this meaningful sharing and expression was powerfully facilitated by SHINE, in the true spirit of reflective yet prideful celebration.
The SHINE exhibit is housed in the VCAM lobby and will be on display until December 22. Come see Allen’s work and share in the lives and beauty of womxn of color on Haverford’s campus.
Noorie Chowdhury ’21, Mumbai, India