The Daily Gamecock

Seen and Heard exhibit to show a more intimate side of the women in the Midlands

Midlands women are getting ready to give the city of Columbia and beyond a closer look at their daily lives. Tapp’s Art Center collaborated with Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, WREN, to showcase the “Seen and Heard Exhibit,” where photography by a diverse group of area women will be on display for the first time this Thursday night. 

Different groups of women came together last year, cameras in hand, with a specific message that they wished to convey with their photography.

“We all got these disposable cameras, like film cameras, and what we were instructed to do was just record our life as women in Columbia and the Midlands,” WREN volunteer and advocate Allison Terracio said.

They spent numerous sessions going over each other’s pictures and tended to pick the ones that had the most meaning behind them. In the end, 80 original works from 40 different artists will be a part of the exhibit. 

Terracio says women can relate to the intimacy within the content of the photographs, which gives people a view into their lives that can often get ignored, especially by men. 

“You get this view into a woman’s life that maybe you don’t often see, you know? My husband gets up, takes my son to school, goes to work, does his thing all day long, doesn’t see a whole lot of my day," she said. "I think that’s something that men will get to partake in."

Terracio thinks photography is the perfect medium to capture each woman’s reality. It’s not just because of the technology or the convenience, it’s how social media has saturated our process of absorbing photographs. She's confident that she and the other artists can remind people of the power of the picture.

“This is a printed photograph, it is something you are not just scrolling past, so it takes that instant thing that we’re used to and makes it more permanent or a longer engagement — you can stand there be with it,” she said.

Terracio has not lived in the Columbia area for even a year and a half, but she has taken advantage of the countless ways to become a part of Columbia and make an impact.

“It’s just a really big tapestry of people working together, organizations working together and I got to be a part of that," she said. "I got to weave my little thread into a piece of that."

The press release for the exhibit says it is “a means of bringing to light the opportunities and barriers they’ve faced within their communities.” The opportunities may have already presented themselves for the artists involved. 

“Many of the women in my group were women at a point in their life where they can make choices about careers, where they can make choices about family, they can make choices. So the empowerment of choice … I mean opportunity is really just like ‘Do you get to choose it or not? Do you get to open that door and go through it or not?’" Terracio said.

For women, the fight to get a foot in the door is one of the most constant, but unwelcomed problems they face today.

“I think the barriers that we see ... it's just about, do we have extra services available to us? Do we have extra care? Do we have a place to take our child, or someone to pick our child up?” she said. 

On Thursday night, Terracio is ready to get past all those barriers and see her and so many other people’s work come together to create something unique and special for the community. 

"I want to get to know women's stories," she said "I’m curious about if my story resonates with the other stories and if they, and how they, resonate with each other.”