Herstory is not only a hilarious song written by Will Forte from Saturday Night Live, but it is also an art exhibition being displayed at Gallery 1C03 in honour of International Women’s Month.

“Just over a year ago I began to plan this exhibition with several goals in mind,” states Jennifer Gibson, Gallery 1C03’s director/curator. “I wanted to offer a practicum opportunity to a student in the U of W’s new graduate program in curatorial practices. I also wanted to highlight pieces from the [U of W’s] art collection, as it is not often showcased in Gallery 1C03. More specifically, I wanted to focus on works created by women artists in our collection, as this had never been done before.”

The exhibition opened on Mar. 8 and will feature the work of 21 different female Manitoban artists over the course of a month, including names such as Diana Thorneycroft, Eleanor Bond, and Wanda Koop, just to name a few.

Herstory aims to highlight some of the work of important female artists who currently live in Manitoba, or who have lived in the province at some point in their life, while exploring topics such as feminism and how this has been expressed through art.

“Physically, the exhibition is organized both historically and thematically; it ranges from small to medium-sized watercolour landscapes produced in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, to larger scale works dealing with the body and narratives as well as portraiture,” says Gibson. “The layout of the show also takes into account the relationships between some of the artists as well as the media in which they work.”

Herstory is curated by U of W graduate student Laura White, who was responsible for selecting the 25 pieces to be displayed at the gallery. White also provided all the text to accompany the pieces, and will be releasing a publication regarding the exhibition sometime in the next few months.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a panel discussion on Mar. 27, hosted by White at Gallery 1C03 and including dialogue from participating artists Dominique Rey, Eva Stubbs, and Diana Thorneycroft.

“The panel offers an opportunity for the public to learn more about the artistic practice of three of the artists whose work is represented in the exhibition,” states Gibson. “We purposely approached artists who are a generation apart in age [ . . . ] because we want to explore with them how their experiences as female cultural producers may have been similar to or different from one another across time.”

When asked about her hopes for Herstory, White’s response was two-fold.

“My hopes are that the exhibit will encourage people to take a more active interest in women artists in Manitoba, and in women artists in general. I also hope that it will encourage people to visit other galleries around the city, and to explore all that the arts community has to offer.”

Herstory spans from Mar. 7 – Apr. 6 at Gallery 1C03 at the University of Winnipeg campus. Admission is free and all are welcome. Please visit www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/gallery-1c03-herstory for more information.

Painting by Wanda Koop.