Visual Arts

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    “Creative Acts of Vision”: Connecting Art and Theory through Gloria Anzaldúa's Archived Sketches
    (2023-07-01) Ishii, Sara
    Queer Chicana author Gloria Anzaldúa often used visual art to develop and teach her theories, which address issues relating to social identity and institutions as well as creativity and spirituality. Her large collection of archived sketches at the Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers at the University of Texas demonstrates her drive to visually express ideas. The archive also holds unpublished works and talks in which Anzaldúa discusses her concepts of creativity and the image-making process. Despite the prevalence of images in her work, few scholars have analyzed her artwork or her writings on creativity. To address this gap, I explore the question: How do Anzaldúa's sketches inform her theoretical concepts of creativity and image-making? Analyzing her visual work significantly contributes to academic scholarship, especially for scholars looking to engage with Anzaldúan theorizing beyond that of her written works.
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    "Unless she had implants, she must be Chinese": A feminist analysis of players’ responses to representations of Chinese and Japanese female video game characters
    (PKP Publishing Services, 2014) Ishii, Sara
    This article examines the portrayals of Chinese and Japanese female video game characters in a purposive sample of video games and how users of online discussion forums understand these representations. The majority of game studies scholarship lacks an intersectional component regarding gender and race. As such, this analysis addresses this gap by focusing on the relation between gender and race in the construction of problematic stereotypes existing in gameplay and gaming communities. Drawing on a feminist theoretical framework, Iemploy the concept of “the gaze” to draw a connection between character image and interpretation and their relation to the intersections of gender and race. These intersections are analyzed in both visual and textual form in order to explore alternative methodological approaches and establish the relationship between a character’s image and dialogic interpretations of these images by players. The findings identify how video games and players support stereotypes, and conversely, how player dialogue that challenges oppressive concepts of gender and race may be a means by which to consider alternative approaches to gendered and racialized character design.
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    (Re)Marks of abuse: Gender violence in contemporary feminists of color art
    (MAI, 2021) Ishii, Sara
    In 1973, Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta invited friends and fellow students to witness a performance piece staged at her Moffit Street apartment in Iowa City, USA. Upon entering Mendieta’s slightly ajar front door, viewers witnessed her body, naked from the waist down, smeared with blood, bent over, and tied to a table. Referencing the recent rape and murder of an Iowa University student by a fellow student, Mendieta’s performance Rape Scene 1973 Moffit Street, Iowa City, Iowa, made direct connections between gender and sexual violence, a victim’s gendered and racialised body, and the emotional impact of trauma. Mendieta’s ‘direct identification with a specific victim meant that she could not be seen as an anonymous object in a theatrical tableau. Her performances presented the specificity of rape, through which she hoped to break the code of silence that renders it anonymous and general, denying the particular and the personal’. (Reckhitt & Phelan 2001: 98) Mendieta’s use of her own body makes specific remarks on violence against women of colour. In addition, the setting of Mendieta’s apartment impacted her audience on an intimate level, and reminded them of their physical proximately to the issue of rape on college campuses. Indeed, she directs attention to the concept that rape most often happens in the private sphere, unlike the public dark alleyways often depicted in media.
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    Sketching spirit in everything: Exploring spirituality, interconnectivity, and creativity in Gloria Anzaldúa’s archived drawings
    (University Institute of Women's Studies (IUEM), 2022) Ishii, Sara
    Gloria Anzaldúa drew important connections between spirituality, interconnectivity, and creativity when she stated, “the idea that everything is spiritual, that I’m a speck of this soul, this creative consciousness, this creative life force; and so is a dog, a rock, a bird, this bedspread, and this wall...Everything is relative, I’m related to everything” (Interviews2000). In asserting a universal relation between all beings based on spiritual affinity, Anzaldúa places spirituality at the core of social justice work. Furthermore, she expands the scope and applications of spirituality to includes all forms of beings and unsettles the separation and hierarchy between humans and nonhumans. In the introduction, I establish Anzaldúa’s articulation of spirituality as social justice oriented, inclusive of all forms of being, and connected to creativity. Next, I examine three of Anzaldúa’s archived sketches of animals and nature and place these images into conversation with her written theories. While the archive holds numerous sketches that incorporate an animal or nature, I select drawings that contain nature and at least one animal rendered in a complex patterning style. In my analysis I explore the questions: How can we read Anzaldúa’s sketches through her writings on spirituality? And conversely, what can we learn about Anzaldúa’s theory of spirituality from her archived sketches? Through compositional analysis, I unpack Anzaldúa uses of imagination to articulate a spirituality that indicates interconnections between humans and our environment. In conclusion, I reflect on the contributions Anzaldúa’s artwork makes in developing her theory of spirituality that creates personal and social change. I argue that academic disciplines invested in analyzing social issues can benefit from examining both Anzaldúa's written and visual theories because she presents a spirituality that is deeply enmeshed with, not removed from, the concerns of marginalized groups
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    Art history, open educational resources (OERs), and social justice-oriented pedagogy: Adaptations to introductory world art history survey courses
    (CUNY, 2022) Ishii, Sara
    This essay considers the social justice benefits of adopting OERs in an introductory art history survey course. Following the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, instructors have needed to reevaluate pedagogical approaches and teaching materials. Coupled with this present need to foster accessible and flexible courses, for decades art historians have observed the overrepresentation of white Western art and subsequent marginalization of global art in survey textbooks. Centering the need for a social justice-oriented pedagogy that recognizes global contributions to art history, I first reflect on the potential to adapt open educational resources (OERs) to disrupt status quo narratives that privilege Western art. Second, I discuss my adaptation of the open access textbook Boundless Art History by Lumen Learning in which I reformat the material to examine artwork across the globe in timeframe units. Finally, I conclude by reviewing student responses to a Google Forms survey about their experiences with OERs and positing additional benefits and further developments for open access course materials within introductory art history survey courses.