For the first time at Fresno State, there is an exhibit – The 100 Years of Dangerous Women – that recognizes a number of women such as Jane Addams and local clay artist Margaret Hudson who, throughout history, have made huge impacts that have shifted the views of women in a powerful way.
The theme of the exhibit is to show what constitutes a “dangerous woman.” Among others, the most important things that describe a dangerous woman is one who is an activist, who opposes war and militarism and who advances human rights and supports a healthy planet.
The exhibit runs until Sept. 27. The opening reception starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Friday at the Henry Madden Library in the Pete P. Peters Ellipse Balcony Gallery (3rd floor, north).
The main purpose of the exhibit is to celebrate the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – an international non-governmental organization that’s goal is to promote non-violence – on its 50th anniversary in Fresno and its 100th anniversary internationally.
Sandra Iyall, a member of WILPF, said the purpose of the exhibit is to educate students, faculty and the Fresno community about women in history.
“We want to inform people about what women have done in history and to celebrate our past and also remind people that you can make a difference by getting involved,” Iyall said. “I think this exhibit really displays the breadth of issues that we are involved in.”
Iyall and Pat Wolk, who is also a member, started collecting posters, photographs and added text to help get the community involved and learn about women’s history and the beliefs they fought and died for.
“We know that the causes of war are what contributes to the ongoing nature of why wars keep happening, and so we realize that you have to get to the root of it so we involve ourselves in racial justice issues, economic issues, the healthy planet because it is all tied together,” Iyall said.
Mary Murphy, a yoga therapist who also serves as the co-chairwoman of WILPF, said she loves everything about the exhibit and that it really gets to the heart of what women had to go through for others to hear their voice.
“For me, the whole north wall is a very lovely gathering of historical photographs of women in the peace movement from during and after World War I and before World War II,” said Murphy. “It shows the key international women who helped to start the organization and then the women in Fresno who are the key for starting and maintaining the Fresno branch as well.”
Another thing that stood out to Murphy were the artifacts and artwork.
“Everybody loves the old history stuff and old clothes, and it gives me a sense of belonging and continuity,” Murphy said.
Cindy Wathen, who handles public relations for the Henry Madden Library, said the exhibit is great for students due to it being on campus.
“I hope they enjoy the easy access,” Wathen said. “They can simply take two minutes away from their studies to learn a little something that they might not have time, for so the access is really wonderful for them I hope that they take the opportunity to stroll in there.”