Powerful pumps — Prichard exhibit to show historical shoes
An exhibit featuring women’s footwear and feminism will be on display at the Prichard Art Gallery through Sunday as part of the Women’s Leadership Conference.
Dinah Zeiger, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Media, developed the exhibit through conversations with friends and her experiences with high heels.
“How it came about was that the Women’s Leadership Conference was looking for something that was more than a paper to be delivered, which often times these conferences are about paper,” Zeiger said. “I was interested in thinking about the subject of high heels and how it intersects with women’s images of power.”
Zeiger gave a presentation Thursday titled “Postures of Power” as part of the leadership conference. She said the presentation brought up several ideas and discussion about women’s footwear and the messages they can convey.
“To be frank about it, I’m of an older generation and so my initial impulse was that is was going to be some kind of a presentation that dismissed the current or contemporary fashion for very high heels for women,” Zeiger said. “I thought they looked inappropriate and I couldn’t imagine why people would want to stuff their feet into them. My perception of this comes from my age and when I was a girl and from the fact that my feet hurt.”
Zeiger had several discussions with a group of women she refers to as her “pool posse” when organizing the exhibit and presentation and the women wanted to get involved in the project.
“One of the women is an artist … and she said ‘Oh what a great idea. I would love to do something for an exhibit.’ She very quickly created the image that we are using on our poster, that power shoe,” Zeiger said.
Zeiger said 14 artists contributed to the show which features about 20 pieces of work.
“What we asked the artists to do was to reflect on shoes and particularly on high heels or how high heels have shaped or influenced their lives,” Zeiger said.
She said the exhibit includes watercolor and oil paintings, linotype and etching prints, photographs, sculptures and the Lila Old historic costume collection from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“We have a collection of historical shoes in there so we have a kind of timeline from about 1900 through 1980 of women’s high heeled shoes,
what was the fashion in shoes by decade,” Zeiger said. “They are important, they were worn by real people and they are a part of the universities own collection of historical pieces.”
The exhibit will be on display from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org